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Taking A Chance On Love

The Interracial, Intercontinental Marriage of Davyd & Jiri

by Arthur Wooten
Taking A Chance On Love, Jiri and Davyd Visiting the Pyramids (Photo by Suber)

Build a strong foundation with someone who’s mature enough and willing to spend time away from you.

Davyd and Jiri Visiting The Pyramids in Eygpt (Photo by Suber)

There are many who criticize social media and its negative aspects, but one thing that can’t be denied, it’s fantastic for reconnecting with old acquaintances.

Whether it be a schoolmate, a past love, or even a distant relative, using the internet has made finding people much easier. Such is the case with my long-lost friend, Davyd H. Suber Jr. We originally met over 20 years ago and somehow lost track of each other over the decades. I’m not sure if I made the reconnection or if Davyd did, but it was a very pleasant and inspiring friendship to rekindle.

Davyd is a drama director at Sacred Heart high school in Yonkers, New York and he’s also directing and choreographing at three other schools. The big surprise, however, is that Davyd is now married, and has been for six years, and that his husband Jiri Simek is also an educator, a teacher of high school math and physics in Semily, a small town outside of Prague, Czech Republic.

I had to meet Jiri and find out how all of this happened and how they make it work, so we scheduled a Zoom meeting when they were both together in Europe.

Guys, thanks so much for Zooming with me. First, how the heck did you meet?
Davyd: Online at Bear411.com
Jiri: But in Prague, it’s called Eurowolf.

Was it love at first Zoom?
D: For me it was love at first sight when we finally met in person because of the way he smiled at me.
J: For me it was scary because it was forcing me to step out of my comfort zone to have a whirlwind romance with someone from a big city in America, since most people in my small town didn’t know about me. And I was worried about our differences (different countries, different cultures, different languages, and different ethnic backgrounds).

Jiri, you’re a math and physics teacher?
J: I’m a teacher of Math & Physics at a Waldorf educational focused School. Its educational style is holistic, intended to develop pupils’ intellectual, artistic and practical skills, with a focus on imagination and creativity. Individual teachers have a great deal of autonomy in curriculum content, teaching methods, and governance. Qualitative assessments of student work are integrated into the daily life of the classroom, with standardized testing limited to what is required to enter post-secondary education, equivalent to the high school level in America.

Davyd and Jiri in Front of Their Maison in France (Photo by Suber)

Davyd and Jiri in Front of Their Maison in France (Photo by Suber)

As your relationship progressed, did you have some sort of travel plan…like when you would meet up in person?
D: We spend the summer together, and one week in Oct/Nov, 3 to 4 weeks in Dec/Jan, one week in Feb/Mar, then we start all over!

Prior to this union, had either of you been in long-distance relationships before?
D: I was in a 5-year relationship with a gentleman who lived in Minneapolis, Minnesota when I was living in New York.
J: This is my first long distance relationship, in fact this is my FIRST serious relationship.

So, things progressed pretty quickly.
D: We started chatting online Sept 2016, met Dec 2016, married on Skype March 31, 2017. And then we married again in person in Yonkers, New York, July 31, 2018.

Any long-distance relationship tips?
D and J: First, find someone who thinks unconventionally. Build a strong foundation with someone who’s mature enough and willing to spend time away from you. Focus on the quality of time together, not the quantity of time. Always communicate what you both are doing daily and who you are spending your free time with. Scheduling is very important. Know each other’s daily schedule, schedule the next time you will see each other, schedule when you’re going to facetime together. But the bottom line is, once you are deeply in each other’s hearts any obstacle (distance, age, religion, body type, culture or financial status) won’t stop you from being together.

We actually participated in a conference in New Orleans. It was a panel at the National Association of Black & White Men Together conference and the topic was” “Obstacles in relationships.” We were one of three couples, and of course our obstacle was distance! Discuss whether you are going to or you want to have sex with other people, and how you are going to spend money when you’re not together and when you are together. Decide what is a deal breaker for you in the relationship and discuss it.

The best thing is laugh together and don’t take anything too seriously. Also let your partner be who they are and never try to change them. Help each other be their best possible self.

Davyd and Jiri in front of The Eiffel Tower (Photo by Suber)

Davyd and Jiri in front of The Eiffel Tower (Photo by Suber)

Four years into the marriage the two of you bought a house in Ernée, France. Why not near Semily or Prague?
J: From my young age I always loved France and it is was a childhood dream to live there. I’ve always loved French history, it’s a very charming country and the language sounds very sexy. Plus, my husband wanted to buy a house in France. And Prague is too expensive for us to buy there and we already have a house in Semily I inherited from my grandmother.
D: The first time I visited Paris over 20 years ago, I fell in love with the city, the architecture, the culture, the people, and the romanticism. It started as a fantasy, wanting to find a house under 50 thousand dollars and my friend, Karl Lindeson, from Australia told me about the website, French-Property.com. I set up a profile on the website with an alert for houses under 50K within a 3 1/2 hour travel time radius from Paris by car or train or both.

I know you bought this property for just above $25,000, but it needed a bit of work. You’ve invested a little less than that same amount. Are both of you handymen who are good and experienced with renovations?
D: I wouldn’t say I’m a handyman, but because of my theatrical career experience I have designed an built sets, made costumes, hung lights, made props, which well prepared me to attempt certain renovation projects. Using the iPad app “Interior Design Pro” and watching a lot of YouTube videos helped me create the home we now enjoy!
J: I’m not handy at all when it comes to renovations, but will try simple things with the right instructions. My best friend Patrik builds houses for a living and did a lot of the heavy lifting in our house. Fixing our trap floor in our entrance foyer, insulating the roof, installing electrical outlets in the attic bedroom, and installing and rerouting the plumbing to create three bathrooms.

What are the finer details you have to deal with when purchasing a property abroad? Do you need to pay cash or do they work with mortgages?
D: Since we paid for the house in full as an “AS IS” sale, we didn’t have to deal with a mortgage. I do know non-French residents can get a mortgage. And we had no surprises because we luckily had a great realtor, Jane of “Agence THOM,” who had experience selling houses to Americans and nonFrench residents. If you have a very good realtor, they will explain all the finer details and walk you through the entire process step by step with no surprises. Since I have never bought a house before I had no expectations.

Davyd and Jiri visiting the Taj Maha (Photo by Suber)

Davyd and Jiri visiting the Taj Maha (Photo by Suber)

What about a car? Do you need one there?
D: In the village of Ernée we can easily get around the town without a car and our house is located on the edge of the city center where the majority of shops, restaurants and bars are. There is a limited bus service that travels to the neighboring villages. We have plans to buy a car in the near future and have it registered in France. We will leave it with our dear friends Paul and Helen, originally from England, who live here full time and also look after our house when we aren’t there.

I see that the two of you do a lot of travel throughout Europe. It’s so easy, once you’re over there. The train systems are great and flights are inexpensive between countries. What are some of the countries you’ve traveled to?
D and J: Egypt, Poland, Austria, Greece, Belgium, and India to name just a few.

Any big plans coming up?
D: Traveling around Europe more, going to my family reunion in July, hosting the families for the Paris Olympics, and maybe buying a house in Italy! We’re on an adventure!

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