Long lost love: Greek couple from Canberra get their unexpected happy ever after

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Are you someone who’s lost all hope and decided to give up on love and finding “the one”?

What if we told you it’s never too late?

Let me introduce you to John Stavropoulos and Kathy Vlahos, a couple from Canberra, who married after more than 25 years of knowing each other, being friends, having secret crushes on one another and skipping all the signs.

Their unexpected yet beautiful journey began in their thirties.

“I first saw Kathy about 30 years ago as she was walking past Café Della Piazza, a coffee shop in the city,” John tells The Greek Herald.

“I was with one of my friends that knew her brother, and I asked him, ‘who is that?’, and he told me and then I kept my eye on her for many years after that.”

Long lost love: Greek couple from Canberra get their unexpected happy ever after.
The day after Kathy and John got engaged.

Kathy says she always had a crush on John. Her brother Bill and John were best friends and they would sometimes go out together in a parea (group of people), where they’d often end up sitting next to each other.

“I didn’t ever think he liked me though, because he never made a move on me,” she adds.

In 2016, Kathy went on a trip to America where she found an ice ball that you pair with scotch or vodka and decided to buy it for John to show him that she was thinking of him.

“When I got home, I went to John to service my car (as he is a mechanic), and I also gave him the present, and he simply said “thanks,” and that was it,” she says.

“I then decided to stop thinking about John, as I could tell he wasn’t interested.”

The couple then continued to do their own thing.

“My parents constantly encouraged me to give people a chance, and it was the same with John and his parents, but I had just decided I would be single,” Kathy says.

“Then, when I stopped looking for it, and least expected it, I kept crossing paths with John.”

John said the couple kept bumping into each other coincidentally.

“I remember taking my dad for some check-ups and tests at the pharmacy, and then out of nowhere, I run into Kathy,” John explains. “Then it kept happening and it felt like we were meant to find one another.”

After many months, one night Kathy received a message from John.

“He texted me saying, ‘thanks for the ice ball, it’s great’… then a few months following that, he called me for my birthday and said that I should bring my car in for a service, and then suggested we go for a drink,” Kathy says.

“I then went silent thinking, ‘did I hear right?’… I said ‘yes’.”

John and Kathy had their first date at Monster Bar in Canberra. They began dating in February 2018.

“We dated for about three months, and we fell for each other instantly,” Kathy says.

“I then had to break the news to John that I would be going overseas to Greece in June, as it was already booked prior to me dating him.

Long lost love: Greek couple from Canberra get their unexpected happy ever after.
The night the couple got engaged.

“I worried that by going to Greece it would get too hard from him, despite all our Facetime calls and texts. He decided to book a ticket to Greece, after almost two months of me being there.”

When John had told Kathy, she thought he was coming to break up with her. However, John had other intentions – he booked a six-week trip and had something important to ask Kathy.

On 10 August 2018, John landed in Athens and told Kathy he wanted to take her out to a special dinner at a restaurant overlooking the Acropolis in Athens the next day.

“When we went to dinner, John kept saying, ‘I feel sick, I feel sick’ and I was saying, ‘why?’ I knew you shouldn’t have eaten the fish,” Kathy says.

“Next thing I knew, he pulled out a ring from his pocket and asked me to marry him – I was in shock and began crying.

“Conveniently, the next day, my uncle had organised a big barbeque in Kopanaki, Messinias, Greece – as I told them John was coming to visit – and it ended up being our impromptu engagement party and John and I were so happy and excited to share our news with everyone.”

Long lost love: Greek couple from Canberra get their unexpected happy ever after.
The BBQ following John and Kathy’s proposal.

John and Kathy got married the following year, on Saturday, July 20, in Kastorio, Laconia, at one of the only remaining ancient Byzantine churches in Greece. More than 300 guests from Greece, and 100 guests from Australia, attended the couple’s special day. There were plenty of fireworks, traditional gun shots, delicious food, and non-stop dancing going until 8 am.

Long lost love: Greek couple from Canberra get their unexpected happy ever after.
The wedding day.
Long lost love: Greek couple from Canberra get their unexpected happy ever after.
John and Kathy got married in 2019 in Greece.
Long lost love: Greek couple from Canberra get their unexpected happy ever after.
The wedding in Greece.
Long lost love: Greek couple from Canberra get their unexpected happy ever after.
John and Kathy in the church.
Long lost love: Greek couple from Canberra get their unexpected happy ever after.
John and Kathy welcomed over 400 guests.
Long lost love: Greek couple from Canberra get their unexpected happy ever after.
John and Kathy got married in one of the only ancient Byzantine churches remaining in Greece.
Long lost love: Greek couple from Canberra get their unexpected happy ever after.
They had a big wedding with people from Australia and Greece.
Long lost love: Greek couple from Canberra get their unexpected happy ever after.
John and Kathy took to the dance floor.
Long lost love. Greek couple from Canberra get their unexpected happy ever after.
John and Kathy said they wouldn’t have their love story any other way.

In 2020, the couple welcomed their two beautiful twin girls, Panayiota and Ioanna.

Now, happily married five years later, John and Kathy said they were so happy everything worked out.

“The only thing I’d change is us getting together 5-10 years earlier, as we could have had more time and a few more kids,” Kathy says.

“Even now, realistically, we didn’t expect to have kids in our 50’s, but we both love kids very much and we were blessed to have our two gorgeous girls.

“We feel so blessed for everything we have achieved.

“When you look into a person’s eyes, you can tell if they are a good person, and when I met John… I just knew it was true love.”

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