“When you meet someone, give them a chance. You never know who they might become for you in the future.” He wasn’t her type first time they met, yet he took her in with his honesty. They had their first date in Athens, but what she remembered the most, was a rose bouquet with a card that said “Smile to the world and the world smiles back at you”. It marked the beginning of when they consciously started to learn about each other and follow the same path. Iwona Cichosz – Miss Deaf International and her fiancée – Truls S. Yggeseth in a beautiful conversation about love.
B&P: One of you is from Poland, the other from Norway, and your first date was in Athens. Sounds like a film scenario. Do you feel it’s been written for you by fate?
Both: We both took part in the same events, somehow we never met. We guess, that the life knew we were not ready to meet at that time. We were both in relationships with someone else. The meeting in Athens was very unique, we both had the sense we’d known each other for long, as if we’d only been waiting to meet. Then suddenly, everything made sense. This is why we believe we were destined to meet (smile).
B&P: Iwonka, I know initially you didn’t think Truls was your type. Truls, can you tell me how you managed to win her heart and how long it took you?
Iwona: Precisely! I’ve always been attracted to men a bit older than me, stronger-looking. And Truls was my age, very thin (smile). He took me in with his honesty, made me laugh, I was gradually falling in love with his blue eyes and a charming smile! I think he should tell you how he stole my heart (smile).
Truls: We chatted every day, like we’d known each other well for long. Then suddenly one day, Iwona was feeling under the weather, I just wanted to make her happy and smile, so I sent her a bouquet of yellow roses with a card, which said “Smile to the world and the world smiles back at you“, which was when I think I found a key to Iwona’s heart. It was about three weeks after we’d first met in Athens.
Iwona: These roses made my heart grow. I realised at that time that I can count on him in tough moments. He was always there for me when I needed care, sympathy and love. I gave him a chance then (smile).
B&P: I’m looking at you right now and I don’t think we need any words. What does it mean to you “to love”?
Iwona: Love means making food for him when he’s tired working on his computer, collect memories of him and be close when he needs me, accepting him in his entirety, basically sharing live together.
Truls: Love means to have a strong bond between two people who are willing to share their happiness and life. I am there when she needs me and the other way round. At least, be fully supportive to each other and together share beautiful life with unforgettable moments.
B&P: Are you under the impression that for people who can’t hear love gains a new dimension?
Truls: Love is equally the same in both worlds, hearing or deaf. However, there might be a difference expressed well by the metaphor that the hearing world has “a lot of fish in the sea” compared to the deaf world.
Iwona: Our world is smaller, so then when we come across someone we feel this unique bond with, then we try hard to nurture this feeling.
Truls: When you see the opportunity to find love, you have to take the chance, otherwise it might be gone. It is like now or never.
B&P: You’ve been a couple for a year and a half, but both have experiences from previous relationships. What do you value the most in your relationship?
Iwona: What I value the most about Truls is that he loves me for who I am and I can be myself when I’m next to him. He understands me, and when he doesn’t, then at least he tries. I talk to him openly about everything. I also appreciate that we don’t argue about trivial things. We’ve been through a lot and try to work problems out towards a solution and not fight to prove who’s right or wrong. We value more what we have in common and appreciate these small gestures in everyday life. At the end of the day, happiness is built from all the small pleasures.
Truls: I agree with Iwona, my character is that I prefer to use more time and love with Iwona rather than fight who is right or argue over some small things. I prefer to enjoy life and appreciate as much as possible together with Iwona.
B&P: Do you ever argue? Which of you can say sorry first?
Both: We haven’t had a serious argument yet. However, it happed few times when we felt emotions were on the rise, then we stopped them. We made a short break to cool down, and then dealt with the problem when we were calm.
B&P: You’re experiencing and learning one other – what was the biggest surprise here?
Iwona: What surprised me the most about Truls, is that he’s not jealous about me at all. I appreciate a lot that I have his full confidence, which is rare. At least, that’s what I think. I was also surprised that my beloved one could also be my best friend. My love for him made me more calm and patient. I changed next to him, became a bit more mellow (smile). Which is another thing that surprised me.
Truls: Luckily we’d had almost the same or similar experiences before we were together, so we didn’t have to learn a lot later, what we had already learnt before. I know not all the girls are the same. However, what surprised me about Iwona, was that she knows when an argument should stop and she is honest with me and trusts me, which also gives me more confidence in her and right now, we feel we are safe together.
B&P: Supposing one of you needed to go somewhere for a very long time, what would you miss the most?
Iwona: Sleeping together in the same bed. When Truls leaves, I find it hard to fall asleep for the first couple of days. I miss his touch and warmth the most. Watching him what he’s doing, when he’s playing with our dog or sleeping.
Truls: I agree with Iwona, the best things in my life are to wake up next to Iwona in the morning even when she is so sleepy, make a coffee, etc.
B&P: Smile and the world smiles with you. What does it mean to you?
Both: That quote marks the point when we consciously started to learn one another and head together in the same direction. That quote also mean that whatever happens, you should smile to people, and the good will always come back.
B&P: Can you please finish the following sentences:
One thing you can’t do in a relationship…
… is sweeping problems under the carpet. You should clarify any misunderstandings or ambiguities at once, as these are most toxic for a relationship.
The most important thing about love is…
… understanding, trust, openness and honesty.
The most difficult thing in a relationship is…
… to be separated, when the person you love is somewhere else.
It’s always worth…
… spending every possible moment together, because you never know what happens the next day.
Together we can…
… everything (smile).
B&P: Iwonka – for you, Truls is..
… my love, friend, partner, strength and the person I’d like to spend the rest of my life with.
B&P: Truls – for you, Iwonka is…
…my love, warm heart, someone who would do everything for me, and my support in every life situation. She’s also a shining person with her beautiful eyes, smile, etc., which is why I can’t stop staring at her.
B&P: Where are you headed together? Do you have any plans, dreams?
Both: Home, wedding, travelling, children, just like any other couple (smile).
B&P: If you were to give a message from your heart to people searching for love, it would be…
Both: If you meet someone, give them a chance. You never know who they might become for you in the future. And remember, never ever try to change the person you love. Accept them for who they are.
B&P: Thank you for beautiful conversation
cover photo: Renata Świderska