Thousands of miles apart, Cassidy Aria Melissa Bean and Marcini Anthony Grosvenor only saw each other on five trips before tying the knot.
Before the move, the two had been good friends for years, meeting at the Grace Temple Assembly of God Church in the small South American nation of Guyana. “So we basically always knew each other,” Ms Bean said. “We eventually became best friends.”
On January 23, 2011, things took a new turn. “He said he had something to ask me,” Mr Grosvenor said. “I said, ‘Okay. I have something to tell you, too.'”
“I said, ‘Can I be your girlfriend?'” Ms. Bean recalled asking. “He said he was going to think about it. He’s a jokester. He already had feelings, but he wanted to prolong it.
The next day, the two teenagers had their first date as a couple at a church chicken in New Amsterdam, Guyana. “We were best friends before, so it wasn’t too weird,” Mr Grosvenor said. “It was just an upgrade in title,” Ms Bannon added.
It wasn’t long before his family found out about the “upgrade”. They told her she was too young to date. “So, we were dating and not dating at the same time,” Ms Bean said.
As if dating on the smart wasn’t hard enough, in April 2015, things got a lot harder — Ms. Bean moved to America. “My aunt came and brought me from Guyana to a better life,” she said. Her uncle and aunt adopted her, and five years later, she applied for citizenship and became a US citizen in May 2022.
Ms Bannon and Mr Grosvenor initially split after the move, but eventually decided to stay together and went long distance for eight years. “We have a virtual dinner on the 24th of every month, the anniversary of our dating,” Ms Bannon said.
“It was very difficult. The first time I came back was in the summer of 2017 for two weeks,” said Ms Bean, 26. She returned again in December 2018, March 2021, December 2021 and December 2022, for about a month each.
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It was on one of those trips that Mr Grosvenor, 30, proposed. He created a WhatsApp group with several of his friends to come up with a plan. She then encouraged Ms. Bannon to plan the “girls’ night out” she wanted. So he did.
When she arrived at the Caribbean Cousins Restaurant and Cocktail Bar in Berbice on April 10, 2021, “I was greeted by 10 people, and each of them had a rose with a card that said something about us both. meant a lot to,” Ms. Bean said. The last rose belonged to Mr. Grosvenor.
Ms. Bannon is a cashier at Express, a clothing retailer, as well as an academic advisor at CUNY’s York College, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology. She lives in the Brownsville neighborhood of Brooklyn and, like Mr. Grosvenor, was born and raised in New Amsterdam, Guyana.
Mr. Grosvenor works offshore with Exxon as a third mate. He graduated from secondary school level in Guyana by taking the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) examination.
The two were married at Grace Temple Assembly of God Church, where they first met. Rev. Doreen Henry, a senior pastor, officiated. A reception was held at the restaurant Zero Gravity home style which was attended by 93 guests.
The night before, the couple had queh queh, a Guyanese pre-wedding tradition during which the couple is celebrated and the bride hides from the groom, “which was epic because my husband couldn’t find me and he took my dowry.” Had to pay. . . He was looking for a good hour, then gave up,” Ms Bean said. “My mother hid me in a shop which was located in the flat below the house and she didn’t think to check.”
They reunite to marry – but soon separate again. For now, Ms. Bannon will continue to live in Brooklyn, while Mr. Grosvenor will remain in Guyana. “I will travel back and forth as much as money and time allows,” Ms. Bean said.
“It’s a bittersweet feeling,” Mr Grosvenor said. “It’s always hard when it’s time to leave. However, knowing that we’re close to closing the gap gives me peace.”