Sam and Dustin: Je t’aime, Te amo

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Courtesy of Samantha Lindo and Dustin Raymer

Samantha Lindo and Dustin Raymer commemorate their romance on the Love Bridge of Paris.

Laura Preby, Photo Editor

Dustin Raymer is a junior at Wilkes University, majoring in industrial and organizational psychology, marketing and Spanish.  He loves traveling and exploring the world, and has lived in Georgia, New Orleans, Washington D.C. and Florida before coming to Wilkes-Barre.

Samantha Lindo is also a junior at Wilkes, who loves traveling, sports and animals.  She has a triple major in criminology, sociology and Spanish.

Dustin and Samantha have been in a serious relationship for the past six months. So serious, in fact, that they have attached a padlock to the Love Bridge of Paris to symbolize their everlasting devotion for each other.   They seem to have the perfect relationship – they are adventurous travelers who, when they aren’t doing schoolwork for their many majors, can be found snowboarding, surfing, or just talking about the million other things they have in common.

But the relationship between these two lovebirds hasn’t always been so easy.

“We both met while studying abroad in Madrid, Spain,” Lindo said.  “Dustin went to USF in Florida and I went to Wilkes.   We met one night while going out to the bar with a few friends we had just made, and there was an instant attraction.”

She recalls being so interested in him that she made sure she was standing near him at all times, including in line for bus tickets so she was able to grab the seat next to him.

The love struck feeling was mutual.  “The first night we were in Spain, I was gathering a large group of people together to go out and explore the city,” Raymer said.  “I saw her immediately as everyone gathered around, and thought she was beautiful.  As we all went from place to place in the city, I made every attempt to talk to her.  We hit it off immediately.”

Throughout the rest of their trip, Dustin and Sam made every effort to spend time together, knowing that when the trip was over, he would be going back to Florida and she, Pennsylvania.  “Every night we had there was amazing and every day, we grew closer,” Raymer said.

After visiting Madrid, the group took a trip to Paris for a few days.  This was a wake-up call for Dustin, as he realized the trip would soon be coming to an end and he knew he was truly falling for Sam.  Deciding that they would make their relationship work regardless of the distance, they purchased a padlock, attached it to the Love Bridge to signify the start of their relationship, and pledged their dedication to one another.

“There is a story behind the lock,” Lindo said.   “It is about true love and how you will be together forever. The lock had three keys, one in which I threw off the bridge and the other two which are ours. I got him a necklace and put his key on it, and I have a bracelet with the key attached. Neither of us goes a minute without wearing them.”

After getting back to the states, Dustin and Sam were only able to see each other once every few weeks.  “I usually flew up to Wilkes every 3 weeks to visit,” said Raymer. “It was definitely hard since we wanted to be together, though we put time aside every day to Skype with one another and we were both constantly on our phones talking and learning more about one another.  It was very difficult, but we developed a level of communication that was incredible, as well as an incredible level of trust.”

Dustin decided to learn more about Wilkes University, and found some information that made the couple ecstatic.  “It happened that Wilkes had a program I was interested in pursuing, and I was willing to make that change to be with her,” he said.

In the spring semester of 2013, Dustin made the transfer to Wilkes to be closer to Sam, and the couple lived happily ever after.  They plan on spending their Valentine’s Day doing some of their favorite things – racing snowboards at Sno Mountain, hitting up the bar and spending quality time with one another.

For their one-year anniversary this summer, the couple is planning a trip back to Paris.  They want to attach a new lock to the one they originally placed on the bridge, to symbolize the struggle of distance that they overcame and to renew their promise to each other.