Javier Rodriguez and Leslie Rodriguez

Recorded June 2, 2012 Archived June 2, 2012 39:11 minutes
0:00 / 0:00
Id: mby009413


Javier Rodriguez (26) and his wife Leslie Rodriguez (25) talk about meeting while in college, their engagement, and their multiple marriages. Javier is from Chile and Leslie from the US, so they had weddings in both places.

Subject Log / Time Code

Javier and Leslie realized early on in their relationship that they were serious with each other, but Leslie still thought that it was pretty intense to go to meet his family in Chile less than a year into their relationship.
Javier's proposal to Leslie, after they'd already discussed getting married. He wanted to surprise her anyways. So he used blank cards from the board game Apples To Apples, and succeeded in totally surprising her. She said yes.
Their first marriage - a small ceremony that they didn't tell people about, as it was primarily to get the paperwork in order for immigration reasons (Javier is Chilean and Leslie from the US).
Their next two weddings. A big winter wedding in Nashville, and then a week later, flying to Chile for a summer wedding.
They have to act as the translators and go-betweens for their families, as Javier's doesn't speak English and Leslie's doesn't speak Spanish. However, the families get along well, especially their fathers. Javier remembers trying to translate the philosophical and religious discussions between their fathers.
Thinking about ahead to raising kids, and knowing that they will have to raise the kids to be bilingual, so that the kids can interact with both sides of the family.


  • Javier Rodriguez
  • Leslie Rodriguez

Venue / Recording Kit


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00:04 Hey, hi. I'm Leslie Rodriguez. I'm 25 years old. This is June 2nd, 2012. Where in Nashville Tennessee and I am speaking with my husband.

00:15 And I'm her husband. My name is Javier Rodriguez. I'm 26 almost 27 years old today, June 2nd of 2012. And where in Nashville Tennessee. Can I see? You know, I'm talking to my wife less. We both turned our birthdays are both in June. So

00:39 Well, so why don't you start off and say where you're from and your whole story of how you got to Nashville? So I was born in Punta Arenas Chile, which is very bottom south of chelates across the street from Tierra del Fuego. So I grew up with penguins and eternal winter so jealous. I I moved away from my house when I was twelve to play tennis. I move to Santiago which is about 3 hours flying from Punta Arenas. And then when I turn eighteen I decided to not pursue my dream of becoming a professional tennis player, but to actually use tennis that's a way to study and do you want the best place to do that was to I was the United States to come here and play tennis in college So eventually I've got a scholarship.

01:39 Time to Belmont University

01:43 And that's where I met Leslie.

01:46 And I don't come from as far away. I was born in Birmingham and grew up in Louisville, Kentucky. But I do kind of think that I had to travel around the world to wind up where I am now because I came to Nashville to go to Belmont University and while in Nashville, I studied abroad in Santiago de Compostela in Spain where I learn Spanish and came back to the US and

02:19 Javi and I both worked in the language learning center at Belmont and I don't think I ever would have worked in the language learning center had I not learn Spanish in Spain. So that was pretty much how we met. So I had to travel around the world to but maybe not quite as much as a doormat experience not traumatic, but but yeah, so then why then we met we met that I was planning center, but right because it was so small. You only ever had one person working at the same time and I really hoped that Javi would come to the end of the year party early. So I was all dressed up and ready to go at our professors house and you just didn't show up.

03:19 We met at a bar and I said what are you doing here, which is a ridiculous question because what is anybody doing at a bar on a Saturday night and then the rest as they say is history?

03:39 And we dated see we started dating in 2008 in the spring of 2008.

03:55 Care about running into each other at the other language lab. What was it that we never and why didn't we ever run into each other there and I actually had never and I didn't know I didn't I knew who Leslie was but I didn't have an image to the name. I always hear about Leslie from our boss, but I didn't know who she was. I know I knew who have I really knew who have it was. I knew who the little group of Latin Americans were they were on our campus. They were all tennis players in a couple of soccer players and all the girls know who you guys were.

04:37 And I mean for better for worse, I don't think we had a very good reputation.

04:46 Salary for me and I always wanted to get into your house group because I wanted to practice my language and I thought you were really cute. And so I always hope to run into you as I was going to hang around late on my chest, but we never had overlapping shifts. So I just never really worked out that we met in the language.

05:12 Do you always used it for I always stay there like watching TV or watching soccer game. So just taking advantage of the extra cable channels for 30 closer.

05:26 But anyway, yeah, so that was that we pretty much I mean we were we went from like not really knowing each other to being in a full-fledged relationship. Yeah, I didn't take long for us to can I realized it was something serious.

05:46 And then

05:48 Oh, and that was I mean, I went to Taylor with you that you went to California with me after we started dating like shortly after we start dating after we graduated and then I went to to lay with you in December and I thought it was crazy that you wanted to take me to T. Lay with you to meet your family after we like we hadn't even been dating a year and you were it was just so obvious. Yeah, but like we both kind of feel that he was

06:17 He was going somewhere else. You know, we I don't think

06:21 We had that I don't think he ever felt like he was just playing, you know, he was just going to be a temporary thing. I think we both felt that he was serious kind of since the beginning and I was so so nervous meeting your parents.

06:40 Just thinking about having to talk to spend in Spanish with them. And when do you want to visit a fill out? Naturally? I like those minutes at leading up to actually meeting them and then it was like I had always been there and then with our families with each other and I both families even though they didn't speak the same language. It was like they knew each other and they and they were like best friends. Even if it's a lie understanding each other which is funny because in-laws, you know,

07:23 So many of our friends who are married their in-laws don't get along with each other or they just aren't very close, even though they speak the same language and ours are in a babe don't see the same language and they can't communicate with each other without us really mean they can cook together and stuff, but

07:43 And they're like best friends. You might be something to do with the distance and like some maybe some set of in-laws are they know that they can see each other anytime the hip like two peas in a pod, but we can get to that. I mean misandry mad that story comes when we get married so when they met the first time so then back to yeah, so at that point we have graduated and

08:25 I had a student visa at the time.

08:29 So going to the rule with that is that after graduation you get a year of opt optional practical training at things and then for me Narda to use that year I had to find a job.

08:49 As soon as possible we die and then over that year I had to

08:56 I couldn't be unemployed. For more than three months. Otherwise that that permit to stay would expire trying to right after graduating from college. We started figuring out what could I do in case I couldn't find a job because it was by the time where nobody could find a job in 2009.

09:29 So then what we said, okay, I straight to go into business school the one-year Masters in Sparta ministration, then after that that was when you had the opt.

09:50 My scholarship stop and I had one more year of these master's program, but we I read I didn't want to spend money and I wasn't so sure about it and I didn't want to have to pay for it. So then which I think about what could I do? So it will be worth worth doing and and you know, I wait to stay cuz of course you were still doing your Masters. You are still studying enough cuz I didn't want to go back home. Do you know an MBA? And again our problem at that point was that we were going to pay for it.

10:33 But likely

10:35 I was able to get that graduate assistantship and that kind of pay for a bunch of it. But then it all kind of fell into place like right at the same time because we were talking one day and we said well, why do you even want to try to stay like, what's the point of you trying to stay and it was to stay with me? And so then we were just sitting on the couch and I woke up when we haven't hear from school. CA my applications were in but we didn't know if I was getting it or not. We hadn't heard anything yet sitting there. I was like, what are we going to do? And then it was what's the point of you even trying and then you said well

11:20 Eventually, we're going to get married, right and then

11:24 Like 30 minutes later. We were in the car on the way to teach vacation bible school and I miss you and I said

11:35 And you're like my guess so yeah, but then you wouldn't let me tell anybody what we Tulane. Just think about if we have to tell somebody else. So how do you guys get engaged? How are you? I was just seeing yourself. Oh, you know what to do then when we decided to get married.

12:03 Yeah, so then we got engaged why like June 15th.

12:12 But you have to tell the story of how you propose to me.

12:16 Before you tell it can I ask?

12:19 What is it that makes you know that he would have to do a cool proposal. Like how is that? Oh he has to

12:30 I don't know.

12:31 I had to find somebody I have to be a slightly creative with a cat the things that I do he's extremely creative and anyting mundane. It just wouldn't have fit. Yeah, I would have known before one that you had to be fine. So if I get one of those super romantic cheesy, but yeah, I mean it was it was necessary. I guess I kind of wanted to have a good story and just glad for because now I have a cool story. So good memory of how we got engaged something that we could tell people or our kids in the future judges, you know, this is how it happened.

13:19 So we needed to have a cool proposal and I I mean at that point I started thinking about it and my problem was that Leslie, of course knew that we were engaged. So for me to make a cool proposed I had to be completely secret and yeah, he had to plan something that I wasn't expecting. Of course. I was expecting it all the time. We were kind of on a time constraint because we wanted to let people know

13:50 So yes after a couple days, Leslie actually had to travel. I don't know if you have to travel but you went to New York to one of your friend and now it's perfect for me so I could have time by myself to figure it out what to do. So then my plan was we always like to play board games and and we always play with her parents most of the time.

14:21 So I needed to use your parents to help me out with my proposal. So one day I'm just I was working at the library at a time and just trying to figure out what could I do? And for some reason they Dia of proposing using Apples to Apples game have any sound like a really good idea and something that I didn't hear from somebody else doing so I looked online and they actually saw the blank card so you could print out and just put your messenger. Just whatever you want to ride on him. So I bought a set of red cars and green cards and actually wrote two sets wine in Spanish 1 in English so we could take pictures and then share with my family and they would understand why was I doing so I think I'd Road.

15:13 What is the record that I wrote? Will you? Marry me know it was it was it was the green card as the one that you flip over and then Side Road to green cars that one say will you marry me in the other one said they got that he has Camille and then to red cars one. That's a yes with a bunch of exclamation points. And then another one that Stacy with a bunch of exclamation points.

15:44 And had him ready for whenever you were coming back and then I talked to your parents and explain in what what what what what my plan was and they were like, okay. Yeah. I was like I was so excited cuz I mean they at that point, I think they knew they were the only ones who knew that we were engaged your parents and my parents, but nobody else.

16:08 So the night that you return from, New York.

16:13 Suddenly your dad really wanted to play Apples to Apples him into playing Apples to Apples cuz he always loses but he really want to play it. I mean, they said that they really wanted to hear from your trip. But then we were sitting talking about your trip. Your dad's light. Come on. When do we have to play we have to keep pushing and pushing the game and he actually went to get it which he would never have done that normally. But anyway, I was clueless and I was looking at wedding dresses online with my mom. So I wasn't really paying attention. So then after a couple of friends will I show you should still be so yeah, so then

16:52 We're playing a game and the whole time my mom and I are are planning details of the wedding but work cuz he know you have time when you're playing apples able to chit-chat and whatever while people are deciding on which cards to choose and so were talking and I think in the time that we were talking or something you slipped the Yes red card into my pants into my not my like physical hand, but my hand of cards I can use your car and and then you like while I wasn't paying attention. You must have put the green one on the top and it was my turn and so you kept telling me it was my turn. I said, okay, hold on, you know, just I know Leslie it's your turn in so I turned around and you flip over the card and it said Leslie, will you marry me and I was completely shocked because I kind of imagined that I might look a little nicer but I would think I was in my PJs. I think I might hair was up in like some kind of crazy top notch.

17:48 But I was so excited. Oh, I just totally flipped out. I had no idea you really did surprise me. It was amazing and my parents were so excited. Actually my grandma stayed awake that night until like 11, which is Jimmy. She usually goes to bed at 7, but she was just waiting for it to happen and my parents had balloons in the other room off to the side already. So if I'd gone back there, I mean I would have seen it but they had those balloons all set up a big head margaritas and they had Marguerite is already made up in the in the fridge. So they as soon as you proposed they went and got the margaritas and put them on the table and ye celebrating and he had the ring and it was all resize for me is my grandma's ring.

18:37 Her wedding ring that you can resize for me and

18:42 And then you turn your car instead for the record. I forgot to play my hand and I hadn't looked in my red cards yet. And you were saying you have to put something down here to put something down. And I said, well, what do you mean and I looked at my cards and I have the yes card the Yes red card. And so obviously I put that down and then we called everybody and yeah, it was a good proposal good story. Yeah, and then at that point besides talking.

19:22 I'm with your family and trying to think about what we needed to do cuz we wanted to have both of our families for weddings.

19:34 And now the new problem that we running to was.

19:38 That since we were going to get married in my immigration status was going to change and for me to get out of the country and being able to come back I needed to have that traveling permit and we knew we wanted to have a wedding in t lie, and when you let that travel travel permit was going to take a few months and December was it time that we were both or most people were free. So we somehow have to start working on getting that paperwork done.

20:20 So

20:23 The first thing that we thought is like okay, we should go ahead and get married. So we figured well we better get hitched. So I went out to J.Crew and bought like a little white sundress.

20:45 Mom went out and bought me a bouquet today. And so we went to the church we had.

21:03 We had to have witnesses send mass text message and see who will answer first. Like we need Witnesses for a wedding who can come right now got off work and came to be the videographer and Wade was stoked. Yeah, Alan was a videographer and he was the photographer because he walks in front of the camera and showed up that day at the church and our pastor came out in jeans and a t-shirt and his stole and but he didn't say benediction because he said that the ceremony wouldn't be over until we said the benediction at the end of the real wedding, which is in December. So technically maybe we can go for like a Guinness world record for the longest wedding ceremony ever because

22:03 June 8th, June 12th, June 17th or 18th, May 13th

22:13 And then we went to

22:19 Cinco de Mayo

22:29 We also that was our first wedding ever shared secret to we told most people that we were engaged. We didn't nobody knew that we were actually married and that we had that little celebration and we did it because we wanted to have proof that we got married for immigration purposes to have pictures and video and obviously it wouldn't have been the first choice of how we would have originally got married. But yeah, we didn't want to tell anybody because we didn't want people to think first of all that we were married before immigration because that's not the case.

23:22 And we also didn't want people to feel like they got jipped out of our wedding like we eloped or something. So we just kept it secret. We never share the photos. We never talked to our extended families about it.

23:34 But it was enough to get the ball rolling on the immigration stuff so that it came through at the last minute. That was close. We're freaking out. I actually seen that like became friends with the people at the immigration services because I will be calling and calling and talk getting inside to expedite it when they told us that we could go to Memphis.

24:05 To talk to them about Expediting it and it was there was no guarantee that it would actually do anything or and so we drove to Memphis just to talk about Expediting it and I don't know if it actually work there but we had to do everything we could and we actually got the permit maybe like 2 weeks before we left. So they were planning a wedding for us since you lie that we weren't even sure that we were going to be able to make and

24:35 We got so we had our our big wedding in Nashville in December, which I'm a winter person. So it worked out really well for me wedding and then a week later. We had our December 26th. We have a summer wedding and Sheila. It was perfectly got to have a winter wedding a summer wedding. I could do my hair up and down. I never had to choose will use the same dress you had two different suits though.

25:07 It was awesome. It was good.

25:10 X not mean we have to also say that my immediate family came to the wedding here in Nashville. And that's the first time that our family is mad and then your immediate family travel with us to Chile and actually stayed a couple weeks later. So we never had a honeymoon because we were we died with our families all the time just translating everything making sure they will get to know each other in the two weeks after they got to spend together that week leading up to our first wedding. Well our second wedding, but first big wedding was crazy because I had finals

25:49 I was doing my finals for school year family. It was their first time ever coming to the u.s. First of all and also it was their first time meeting my family, which was Insanity an awesome, but just a little worried if we had to talk for ten people cuz your your sister maca.

26:11 Spoke good English, but Paula didn't yet? And so it was so much translating.

26:18 And it's funny because our family members would talk to each other thinking that eventually something would come through even if they didn't have a translator for them. So like remember Warren talking to your dad about soccer my dad. He talks kind of slowly and loudly thinking that that's going to make it easy to understand.

26:46 But that was definitely an adventure. We take your parents to the Opryland hotel to see all the Christmas decorations on those things as we could in just a couple days which was hard. We did Lola's Cafe we did that was kind of our pre-work whistle dinner. We did station on Broadway. I mean, we did a bunch of things for just a few days that we did and he was right before the wedding. So we were thinking about getting other things done cover our week till Dawn and then we had the wedding and all your friends. Did that ticket e leilei for your dad is awesome.

27:34 At the reception

27:39 And

27:41 Then we took a plane straight down there and there's definitely a reason why people usually just do one wedding because that it was intense to have two big wedding. So close to each other.

28:00 With so much going on. I was really sick the morning of that second wedding.

28:06 And I think it was just nerves. I don't know just cuz I didn't know what was going on your sister plan the whole wedding, which was amazing and I had to give a toast in Spanish. I didn't have to but I did yeah.

28:19 And it was a Catholic Ceremony. Where as the one here was Presbyterian bilingual but until I was in Spanish. So the priest would pause every five or six sentences and I would translate we had a minister and she speaks Spanish. She was she was able to work with the Pastor Jim to get a copy of the ceremony and translated so they will go back and forth and I have cousins who are from Guatemala who would do the readings in Spanish and we would have readings in English but in bilingual, oh, yeah and chili it wouldn't have been that have anybody for me.

29:19 Leaning over to my mom and my dad sitting next to me and translating the the homily was awesome. And then we had so we have that wedding and we danced 4 hours to Cumbia music there was no and then we never got a honeymoon in your parents day over New Years. We all went to the beach and rent it if you like. Yeah. Yeah and then just spend time with them for a couple weeks and they stayed over and then once they laughed and we actually had

30:07 One one week or are we going to have by herself in just my family even do anything at all? That was the extent of kind of a honeymoon my bands would interact and just talk and his amazing your dad and my dad.

30:40 They love each other and both of our moms would spend all the time. I'm in the kitchen cooking kind of a universal language to communicate with each other actually try to understand each other while parents will just start talking to each other and then once they figured out that nobody wants translating and they needed somebody they will call us like obviously come here were talking and I was like, oh my gosh, and they're both really religious.

31:20 Parents both sets of parents and my dad is a professor of homiletics at Vanderbilt and your dad.

31:28 Is very involved in the church?

31:35 How do you say and

31:40 Yeah, so they wouldn't get into these deep theological conversations that have you would have to translate like after lumbar you want to take a nap and they all this philosophical translating words that you would never normally use. How do I know yet? How do I how do I translate a just house is so hard just cuz if I didn't know how to translate the words I will have to try to get the idea of what they want to say. It was really hard, but we are really glad that they actually wanted to talk to each other.

32:16 That's been really special between our sets of parents and they get along so well and they're actually quite similar. They have similar backgrounds and

32:28 Which may be why they get along so well.

32:34 And then

32:36 Three years later now fast-forwarding to 2012. We're finally going to go on a honeymoon this summer.

32:49 No, I don't know when the next time is it will be going to Chile which is too bad. No more often. We haven't been since the wedding my family came to visit once last year for doing Christmas break for a month, which was great cuz we had them in the u.s. For a whole. What was it 3 weeks and we did everything that we couldn't do last time.

33:15 Watches

33:17 Nice to have all that extra charges to have time and not to be.

33:24 Just stressed about meeting, you know different deadlines or things coming up. We just we didn't really have a schedule which is because they couldn't neither of them could trip travel when we had the weddings. So your grandma came for Christmas with your parents and your sisters and that was really cool their Grandma's coming cuz we didn't know that was going to be able to happen ever and they they got along same from the years with both of their New Year's hats on and their knitting together. That was amazing.

34:13 And my grandma actually try to learn Spanish. She got Rosetta Stone and she did really well. She had you checking her homework and stuff.

34:27 Is there anything else?

34:34 I don't know.

34:36 They're all anxiously awaiting kids ever is going to happen, but we right now wouldn't be the best now.

34:58 But that's going to be all so interesting whenever we have to.

35:03 You know have kids and have both set of both families and well, it's not going to be one of those choices where I don't know if we're going to raise our kids bilingual because if they aren't they won't be able to communicate with your parents.

35:23 So

35:24 That's going to be another adventure just going to figuring out how to raise them and making sure that I mean because I know my parents would love to spend time with them. But yeah, I hate that hate it there so far away.

35:42 It's crazy to think that I spent my entire life in the same city as my parents and you have been away from your parents that you were 12 years old.

35:50 That's so young.

35:56 And then our kids will never have the what we were talking about yesterday the love for soccer. Is it something I'll be able to

36:10 Just teach them is something I just have to experience in which they never they won't grow up until a cell.

36:20 We'll have to visit as often as we can. We'll have to get really rich.

36:29 Still banking on winning the lottery.

36:32 Are we going to have to start an airline company or something?

36:44 Only got a couple more minutes. Why is it important to keep your family close?

36:50 Well, I think both both of us really.

36:54 One of our main

36:59 I forgot that one right now value is what I mean for both of us main value bro his family, even though I haven't live with mine.

37:10 I'm from most part of my life. I I stay really close and I have a great relationship with my sisters and my parents and I mean, so do you you hang out with my parents more than we hang out with anybody and I can't imagine living away from my family since I've been with them for so long and obviously we would love to have your family closer on my pants or he will sustain and spend most of our time hanging out with them. So

37:42 We are the link for our family. So it's kind of our responsibility to make sure that they can stay in touch and then become part of our children's life in the future. So

37:56 We just put Green Valley and into it.

38:01 I can't imagine living away from my family as can be very strange and I have to find a job.

38:06 African School

38:09 Hire me, Nashville

38:16 That's pretty much it.

38:23 So far, it's been really fun. And we have a good list Rodriguez life life as many people as we can and making sure that we keep our families.

38:36 Involved in everything and go on adventures all the time. You juice helps that they know that we love each other and that we steak.

38:45 Close and that we're both so happy that they're just happy for us and and happy to have a new family even though they're far away and not have to worry about our happiness because they know that we're taking care of that without any problems.

39:00 So far so good.