There is no need for Hugh Grant or Julia Roberts in this real-life romantic story: when Andye decided to add a three-day detour in Paris to her trip, she had no idea how it would change her life forever…
Meet Andye, the star in this real-life rom-com. Born in Haiti, her family immigrated to the United States, and she was raised there. However, her love for her native country has remained strong through the years.
Later in life, she decided to pursue a Master's degree at the University of Amsterdam. So, she lived in Amsterdam for 14 months as she completed her Master's in International Development Studies. And as she was gearing up to finish her schooling, she had to decide what to do next.
A Trip To Remember
She realized she had a month-long break between her studies ending and her graduation ceremony. So, she decided to explore the world during that free time. Who knows when she will have the opportunity to do something like this again? Plus, Andye is an avid fan of traveling.
Andye made an itinerary for a trip that would take her to amazing locations. She planned to spend a month traveling and seeing the sights around Greece, Italy, Egypt, and India. Little did she know how this trip would impact her entire life when planning her itinerary.
The Paris Pitstop
Andye told CNN Travel, "I decided, 'I'm just going to travel for a month and then come back to Amsterdam.'" And on the way back from her month of exploring the world, she planned to spend three days in Paris. One of her very close friends, Seyna, lived in the City of Love.
Also, Andye had left some of her belongings with Seyna, so she had to stop in Paris. She was on her way back to Seyna's apartment since that was where she was keeping her suitcases. But as she boarded the Metro with her headphones on, her life suddenly took a sharp turn.
This brings us to the other half of our story: Steven is originally from the Central African Republic, located in Central Africa. One of the official languages of the Central African Republic is French, so Steven had no problem getting around in the French capital. He was there studying for his Master's, actually.
The avid student was studying sustainable development. And in addition to his studies, he worked part-time in a school. As the story goes, the 26-year-old was going about his daily routine and heading to work, when a fateful commute changed the trajectory of his life as he knew it.
The Meet Cute
The French student had boarded the Metro. It was extremely packed, and he was forced to stand. But immediately upon entering, he noticed a beautiful woman sitting by herself with a backpack on her lap and her headphones in her ears. He kept looking at her, unable to stop himself.
He recalled to CNN Travel, "I found her really beautiful." After they passed a few stops, the train cleared out a bit. And so, he took a seat opposite the mysterious beauty. He wanted to speak with her but was unsure how to start a conversation with the striking girl with the backpack.
An Undeniable Attraction
As for Andye? She recalled in an article for Newsweek that "The first thing I noticed was his arms. He was wearing a white T-shirt, but his biceps were piercing through it." She thought she was not looking her best... but she had no idea that the muscular-arm man thought, well, the opposite.
She also recalled feeling a "really calming energy radiating from him," and she thought to herself, "What if this man is meant to be my husband, but I'll never know because I'll get off this train without ever speaking to him?" Luckily, Andye was only moments away from getting those answers.
The First Glance
Andye kept thinking of how nice it would be to receive a hug from the buff stranger, while Steven was busy trying to figure out a way to approach her. They kept sneaking glances at each other as the train sped through the underground. And at last, their eyes caught each other. And neither one moved.
Steven began to ask Andye a question, so she took out one of her headphones. He asked her if she wanted to move her backpack to the empty seat beside her in French. She told him it wasn't necessary since the bag wasn't heavy. And from there, they continued talking.
"You Can Do As You Please"
They were enjoying each other's company and casually talking. Alas, the inevitable moment came when Andye had to get off the train. She had to transfer to another train, and this was her stop. Steven asked if he could get off with her, even though this wasn't his destination.
Andye replied, "You can do as you please." And so, the tourists disembarked together. Steven offered to carry Andye's backpack for her. She was unsure about handing her backpack over to a total stranger, "but my gut felt comfortable enough to allow him to take it," she explained of the moment.
More in Common
So, Steven held her backpack. They waited together for Andye's next train to arrive. And when it finally did, they both got on and continued getting to know each other. "That's when we realized that we actually were doing our Master's in the same field of study," Andye recalled.
Eventually, they reached Andye's destination, so Steven got off with her to say goodbye. They exchanged phone numbers, and he asked for a hug before she left him. "I thought that was so weird, because, in France, people just do the kisses on the cheek. They don't hug," she confessed.
Waiting for a Text
Andye arrived at her friend's apartment and gushed about the entire encounter to her. As for Steven? The smitten student waited until after the day was done to message Andye. Later that evening, he finally sent her a text and anxiously waited to see if she would respond to him.
She did! Steven recalled receiving that text, "When she responded, I screamed and ran to my cousin." He even shared that he predicted that she was the woman he would marry. Andye and Steven were sure of one thing: They needed to see each other again before she left Paris. But would they be able to?
The First Date
Andye and Steven continued texting nonstop. They had to figure out a way to see each other before she left the City of Love. The only problem? Time was not on their side. Nonetheless, Steven was determined. "Even if we see each other for just a quick second, I really want to see you before you leave," he had explained.
They decided to meet at a casual fast-food restaurant close to the Metro, where they had hugged goodbye the other day. Upon seeing her, Steven said, "I felt butterflies in my stomach." And after dinner, they continued to a bar. Later, he took Andye back to where she was staying... and they kissed and said goodbye.
1 Stop, 3 Words
As the story goes, Andye left for Amsterdam. She graduated and received the degree that she had worked so hard for. Steven, on the other hand, continued to text her the entire time she was away. But before returning to the US, Andye decided to make one last pitstop - Paris.
While she was there, they made up for lost time. But there was still an elephant in the room. "I don't want you to go back to New York," he told her. "Why?" she replied. And as he looked at her, he blurted, "Because I love you." Andye was stunned. "Don't you think it's too early to be in love with me? You don't know me."
Gone but Not Forgotten
Despite his confession of love, Andye was torn. Her flight was already booked, and she had no immediate plans to return to Paris. "We decided that we're going to keep in touch, and just keep writing to each other and talking," Steven recalled. So they did exactly that.
"Steven and I texted, called, and checked in with each other multiple times a day. It became a relationship without us forcing it," Andye explained. But by October 2016, they decided to make things official. And just one month later, Andye told Steven she loved him. It seemed fate was finally on their side.
But their good luck was just beginning: three months after returning to the US, Andye got a job working for a company in Washington, D.C., that required a lot of travel. She would have to go to Guinea. And guess where many of her layovers would be? None other than Paris. It was like fate was pulling the strings for them!
Six months after they first made eye contact on the Metro, Andye and Steven were reunited. It was only 24 hours during a stop for Andye's work, but that did not matter. They were finally together again. Unfortunately, the day flew by, and the couple had to part ways again.
Saying Goodbye, For Good
As they continued to text and Andye would visit Steven in Paris, tensions began to rise. Steven felt guilty she was the one always coming to him. And Andye could sense something wasn't right, she wasn't sure what it was. "I just remember him being less attentive, really distant."
"Look, if you're not into this, let's just end it," she eventually told him. "I am not going to chase you. I love you. But I don't like one-sided relationships. I would like for this to be reciprocal. And since it's not, I'm kind of removing myself out of the equation." And just like that, they broke things off.
Having Second Thoughts
Some time passed, and they continued to grow distant. But despite not communicating, Andye and Steven could not stop thinking about each other. Andye even admitted, "I'm usually the kind of person like once it's over, it's over. But with him, I felt like this was more kind of a break than a breakup."
And so, Andye planned a trip to visit Paris. She wanted to spend time with her friend, Seyna. "I had my friend Seyna kind of reach out to him to see if he was okay, since I hadn't heard from him and tell him that I was coming to France for a week for vacation." Was he going to respond? What would he say?
Like Nothing Had Changed
Sure enough, the two eventually decided to meet up while Andye was in town. And the sparks flew once more. "We talked a lot. We went out dancing, and then we kind of got back to how things were before," Andye gushed. Most of her time in the French capital, she spent with Steven.
Steven recalled, "At that moment, I thought to myself, 'If I don't make it work, I'm going to regret it for the rest of my life.'" It felt like their love was even stronger than before. They were honest with each other, and this time when she boarded the plane back to the U.S., it was... different.
The Ultimate Test
Things were finally good between them. Well, until another shake sent them back onto rocky grounds. This time, Andye was not messing around. She told Steven frankly, "Look, I don't have time to play games. If this is what you want to do, it's not for me." She was serious.
Then, Andye gave him very specific instructions if he wanted to prove to her that he genuinely wanted this relationship to work. She told him, "Look, if you're really serious about this, here's my mom's number. You let her know that you're serious about her daughter."
Nowhere but Up
Was he going to message her mom? The ball was in his court. And Steven wasn't wasting any time. Not even a week went by before he sent a message to Andye's mother. "I tried to tell her a bit about myself. I said I was serious about Andye," he recalled about his vulnerable message.
Steven sending that message to Andye's mom showed her just how much she really meant to him. There were no more games to play, and the couple was finally on the same page. They were both serious about each other and this relationship. But what was the next step?
Plans for the Future
After Steven showed how serious he was by sending the message, the lovers were finally ready to take a leap of faith. They began to plan for their future. From discussing what country they would want to live in to planning for marriage, they covered it all.
They were still dealing with distance between them, though. So, when Andye had to book a work trip, she squeezed a ten-day-long vacation in Paris into her schedule. This trip began like any other, Steven picked her up from the airport with her favorite chocolate croissants - but it was not going to be like the rest.
A Proposal in Paris
When Andye and Steven arrived at their Airbnb, she was completely drained from the long flight. All she wanted to do was asleep. But she was about to take a nap when Steven said to her, "Wait, I have something for you." And just like that, he went into his bag and got down on one knee.
For Andye, It couldn't have been more perfect. "I got that same calm feeling that I had the first day that I met him," she gushed of that moment when the ring was being put on her finger. But they wanted to keep things quiet after getting engaged, only telling a few of their closest friends.
After all, Andye and Steven were in no rush to get things moving. They kept moving forward with life and their relationship per usual. Andye quit her job and was trying to figure out what she wanted to do next with her career. So in the meantime, she spent the summer in Paris with Steven.
They were simply enjoying their time together as a newly-engaged couple. "It was a really wonderful summer," gushed Andye of that time. However, as summer came to a close, reality began creeping in. The happy couple had to figure out what would happen next.
The international lovers would not be able to do long-distance anymore. Now that they wanted to build a life together, things had to change. It made the most sense for Andye to move to Paris since she spoke French fluently. So she did exactly that.
While she was there, she began applying for jobs. However, it was not as easy as she thought it would be. Andye was struggling to find a place to work in France. Prospects were slim - they had to find an alternative solution. And that's when the idea of moving to the U.S. together was born.
Luckily, Steven's visa was approved a year later. And on September 16, 2019, three years after they first met on the Metro, Andye and Steven were officially Mr. and Mrs. They got married in a court office. Sure, it was a small ceremony, but the couple was not worried about that.
They planned on having a bigger celebration in Haiti the next year. Not to mention, Andye and Steven were simply ecstatic to finally be together again. No more long-distance! They seamlessly settled into life together in D.C. All their worries seemed to be behind them - until life threw another curveball at them…
For Better or Worse
A few months after they got married, the Covid-19 pandemic hit. Unfortunately, Steven lost his job, and Andye caught a bad case of the virus, which ended up sending her to the hospital. It proved to be a trying time for both of them. Andye was okay and recovered from the virus, but it left her with a lot of anxiety.
She was so anxious that she found it hard to step outside, and didn't leave their apartment for three months. Andye said of her husband, "I wouldn't have survived this pandemic, if it wasn't for him." Steven had similar feelings. Sadly, they had to cancel their plans to have a wedding in Haiti.
When Worlds Collide...
Nothing stopped them, though. They worked through it all together. Additionally, they actually worked together. Andye and Steven began their own clothing company: Afrayiti. They made everything from t-shirts to headwraps to pillowcases in bright colors and patterns reminiscent of Africa.
Their website stated, "Afrayiti emerged from a love affair between a Haitian woman and a Central African man who envisioned what the world would look like through the lens of both of their cultures combined." It is a testament to their love and dedication to each other.
Coming Full Circle
Eventually, Andye and Steven decided they would start a new tradition together. Every year, they were going to plan a vacation to celebrate their anniversary. Now that the world has opened up, they have continued traveling around it. They have been to Mexico, Tanzania, Zanzibar, and Costa Rica!
Andye remarked, "One of the things that is symbolic - and I don't think he notices - is when we're traveling, he likes to ask me [if he can] carry my backpack." It is a full circle to the first time they met. Ever since that day on the Metro, Steven has been offering to carry Andye's backpack.
Documenting Their Adventures
Lucky for us, we get to keep up with their remarkable journey: Andye has been documenting her personal travels and their trips on social media. She created the account @dyetravels, which has many memories from over the years. It is a beautiful reminder of everything that she has seen and been through.
The couple has also started another account, @andyeandsteven, highlighting their love for each other and their life as a jet-setting couple. On both social media accounts, they show off pieces from their clothing company, Afrayiti. Safe to say, their love is truly something special.
"This Is It"
And we're not the only ones who feel that way. As users noted, it seems Andye and Steven's story should belong in the theaters. It sounds like the stuff we only hear about in books or television shows. No one meets in real-life like this - but they did! It feels like fate brought them together on that day on the Metro.
"Honestly, I feel like I am living in a rom-com with him," Andye gushed about their relationship. She added, "…sometimes when I think about it, I'm like, 'Wow, I'm living my own rom-com.' I don't need to see it on TV, this is it." Their story is a love story to be remembered.
Happily Ever After
People are always searching for "the one." Our soulmate or other half, that special someone they will spend the rest of their life with. Steven and Andye were lucky enough to find each other. "I knew Steven was "the one" and that I wanted to be with him," Andye recalled.
"The experience has made me believe in fate," she added. All those years ago, Steven told his cousin that he would marry this woman. And he was right. As Andye put it, "Sometimes I feel like I'm living a fairy tale." And so, hopefully, they will continue to live happily ever after...