Once up a time, Sara from the United States and Nicolas from Belgium were both busy running Junior Eurovision and Eurovision discussion forums and quite literally lived half a world away from each other.
Australia entered their lives as Sara was involved in www.junioreurosong.net with her Australian friend Dara Robinson, who, in turn, had visited Nicolas Baus and participated in his www.escforum.net during her European travels.
“Through our mutual friend Dara, Nicolas and I then met when I was in Spain to study and travel,” Sara remembers. “We both liked each other instantly and became good friends.”
That friendship strengthened through participating in each other’s forums and chatting online about their shared love of Junior Eurovision and the Eurovision Song Contest.
At the Eurovision in Concert event held in Amsterdam, 2012, they met for the second time. Vibes signalling romance rather than friendship were felt on both sides, but as with all good stories, there was a snag: Sara’s long-term boyfriend back in the US. Nicolas was disappointed, but took the gentlemanly approach and stayed as a friend.
Luckily for him, Sara felt those very same ‘vibes,’ and ended her relationship with the boyfriend. Back in the US, she and Nicolas stayed in touch via Skype, Facebook and the JESC forums. After months of communicating, Sara decided to be brave and write something slightly unrelated to JESC. “One day, I decided to write to Nicolas and tell him the truth. I said, ‘I’m kind of in love with you, is that OK?’”
“OF COURSE that was OK,” Nicolas laughed.
But was it going to work out in person? Sara had three weeks’ holiday and flew to Belgium to find out. “We both knew that it would immediately,” Nicolas said. Returning to the US to complete her studies, it was another seven months before Sara saw Nicolas face-to-face again.
“We are very grateful for Skype, and spent hours on it,” Sara recalls. “Our longest session was fourteen-and-a-half hours!” Both are quick to point out that no-one can talk non-stop for that long, so a few JESC and Eurovision clips were also shared.
After Sara graduated, her present was a plane ticket to Belgium. She stayed with Nicolas for three months and he returned the favour by visiting her for three months soon afterwards. When she completed her studies in Spanish and teaching, she moved to Belgium permanently.
This is where the tale darkens, as Nicolas starting telling lies.
“I had to make up excuses each time I went out to visit jewellery stores,” he clarifies, “as I was looking for the perfect engagement ring. I’m hoping that these lies don’t count.”
Feeling nervous, he tried hinting to Sara, to see what her reaction would be. “He casually would say, I had a dream that I got up in front of a crowd and you ran away’,” Sara said, “and I said, ‘as if I would do that,’ or ‘you’re worrying too much,’ and then immediately forgot about it.”
Two years after ‘feeling the vibes’ in Amsterdam, they were there again for the ‘Eurovision in Concert’ event in 2014. Nicolas and Sara were with their friends towards the back of the stage, so when Nicolas said that he’d spotted someone at the front and wanted to go over and say hello, Sara didn’t suspect a thing.
Suddenly he was onstage. “Tijana from FYR Macedonia was there next to me, and wondered what song I was going to sing. When I told her my real intentions, she told me to go for it,” said Nicolas.
And go for it he did. Initially the crowd were noisy and more interested in seeing the next Eurovision act appear, but when Nicolas bravely – and rather tunefully – sang ‘My heart is yours’ by the 2010 Norwegian Eurovision entrant Didrik Solli-Tangen, he won them over and they joined in with the song. Their singing then turned to ecstatic cheers when Nicolas changed the lyrics slightly to ‘I’ll go down on one knee, Will you please marry me?’
“Yes Yes!” was Sara’s answer.
Tijana came rushing over to congratulate them, saying that being married was the best thing that she had ever done.
To complete this Eurovision-inspired Fairytale – no, Alexander Rybak isn’t playing at their wedding – they are getting married on the 6th of November. Some of the songs they’ll dance to will include their Junior Eurovision favourites Maria Isabel (Spain 2004) ‘Antes muerta que sencilla’, Laura Omloop (Belgium 2009) ‘Zo verliefd (yodelo) and the very appropriately-titled Sofia Tarasova (Ukraine 2013) song ‘We are one.’
Sara and Nicolas will then travel to Malta for their honeymoon, joining us #together for the Junior Eurovision Song Contest. We wish them all the very best for The Start (hello Gaia) of their new lives #together!