Our Story

The story of Hugothy starts at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. The story is quite long, so if you don’t want to read through the whole thing, I will include
a short version here.

This story will be told by each of our points of view, until we met in person. Starting with…


We all know how the world started to shut down in March of 2020. Countries started to one by one enforce stay at home measures, and most people only left their homes to buy groceries and take their dogs on walks. At this point in time, I was living in Japan, between Tokyo and Yokohama. I owned an English school and had started teaching classes online, while still teaching a handful of students in person. It was a period of uncertainty. I started playing the new Animal Crossing game which was super popular and it helped pass the time and served as a virtual escape from reality. In this game, you move to a deserted island and start a new life there. On my island, there was no pandemic. Instead, I could spend the day planting flowers, building bridges, fishing, catching butterflies, and talking to my very cute animal neighbors. I decorated my home, I created outdoor spaces, I even joined a group on Facebook which let me connect with more people all over the world. I could visit their islands to hang out, trade items, or get new things.

It was lots of fun! I made lots of new friends and talked with a lot of people. To be honest, no one stuck out in particular. One person asked if they could friend request me and I accepted. Normally though, I would ignore friend requests and messages from people I didn’t know, but they had asked nicely. Spoiler alert: it was Hugo that had sent the friend request but it was not Hugo who had politely asked. He just managed to do it at exactly the right time when I had been expecting a friend request. Luckily for him.

It was some time later that I was going to visit a friend’s island. When you connect online, the game shows you which one of your friends are online and have their island open to visit. I saw an island name that I had never seen before, and I had no idea who it was (remember, I almost never friend people I don’t know). Curiosity got to the best of me. I told my friend I would have to postpone my visit and went to this new island instead, called Future.


For me, in March 2020, I was studying my Masters in Barcelona, Spain. I had just moved to Barcelona the year before, expecting to be able to study and work part time. Obviously, the pandemic had different plans for me. Being someone who plays video games a lot and having a lot more extra time for myself, I invested more time into other games and started to play Animal Crossing. I joined several Animal Crossing Facebook groups, including the one Dorothy was in. On May 4th, 2020, I saw a post by Dorothy who was inviting people to come visit her island so they could get a crafting recipe by Apollo. I wanted it so I requested to go and she said yes. She seemed cool and friendly and her island was very nice so I friend requested her because I friend requested many people. I wanted to see possible island destinations in a list from people who were my friends. Then one day, while my sister was visiting my island and hanging around, the flight information screen that notifies if someone is coming to your island showed up. I was very confused since I was not expecting anyone else and I didn’t quite remember who “Doro” was. It took me a few seconds to remember this girl so I messaged her on Facebook with a “Hi?” expecting an explanation for why she was there.

I was ignored for a few minutes while her character ran around on the screen. When she finally made the connection between my island and the Facebook message, she responded. We started talking and she told me she was nervous because in a few days she would find out if she was going to be accepted into the Erasmus program she had applied for at my university. Destiny!


We talked about lots of things at first. Our dreams, our current relationship issues, and the game of course. We swapped photos of our pets and Hugo congratulated me when I was accepted into my masters program. Months passed and I started to get ready to move to Spain, with tickets to fly on October 3rd. It was a really stressful time. It was probably been the worst visa process I’ve ever gone through. I cried so much trying to get an apostilled police report from the Philippines while Manila was under lockdown. Throughout it all, Hugo would give little words of encouragement and tried to help with my other questions like, where should I look for a place to stay? Coincidentally, a room was available in the apartment where Hugo was living at the time. I asked for a video of the apartment so I could see it, he agreed and eventually sent me one that he took himself. My absolute favorite thing about this video tour is that he starts it by saying “I probably won’t talk too much” and then proceeded to talk through the entire video. I thought it was adorable. I also showed the video to all of my students, partially because I thought it would be good practice for them to hear different accents. One of my students asked if he could give his personal opinion. “Of course!” I said. He suggested it might not be a good idea to move into the same apartment because “he probably likes you already” and what would happen if I didn’t like him back? Point taken, I started to look for other options. I also surprise video called him for the first time.

Meanwhile, I started looking for apartments with a classmate of mine, Zarina. We eventually found one and paid the deposit of 450€. While Zarina was on her way to Spain, the landlady stopped responding to her messages. It was extremely stressful. She didn’t know where she was going to go once she arrived in Barcelona. I messaged Hugo for help.


I always thought that when I would live abroad, I would try to have as many friends from different origin countries as possible. Unfortunately, in Barcelona (or at least in my experience) that was not the case, my classmates were mostly from Spain and where I started living I was surrounded by Ecuadorians. That’s why I was particularly excited about talking with this girl from the US who lived in Japan. After several months of texting about different aspects of our lives, I knew I wanted to keep this person in my life as a friend, or who knows ;).

I was personally having some troubles with my personal life around those days with multiple movings, struggling with school, etc. Nevertheless, I tried to keep that friendship the best I could. So when I found out she was accepted and would move to Barcelona I was very excited. I remembered all the things I struggled with when moving here (city registration, social health care affiliation, ID card process and more) and I wanted to be helpful. I also tried to help her find a place for her to stay, and even offered my own apartment when I heard that a roommate was planning to leave around the same time she was coming. She didn’t want to give me much trouble with all this stuff so she looked for a place for herself and a classmate. They even already paid the deposit and were very excited about finally having a place to stay as soon as they arrive. She told me about this place and when I went personally to the address I discovered that the place listed was an office building… they were scammed and I felt terrible. I didn’t know how to help so, knowing that her friend would arrive to Barcelona first, I offered to take her to the police station to make the police report. I waited with her and helped to interpret too. In the end there was nothing they could do. I kept talking with Dorothy almost everyday until she came to Barcelona. She asked me pick her up from the airport and of course I said yes. I was very excited about her arrival.


I finally received the apostilled police report that I needed for my visa the day before I was scheduled to leave. I had, of course, rescheduled my flight since I didn’t expect the visa to be ready in time. Picking up my passport from the embassy was a huge weight off my shoulders lifted. I spent my birthday with my friends in Tokyo, said my goodbyes, packed up, and drove a rental car with my friend Mackiko to the airport. I asked Hugo if he would please pick me up and he told me he would be there after work. A very empty plane and a day later, I landed in Barcelona. It’s kind of funny to think about how all the stars aligned for us to first meet online and start talking, but when we met first in person, we just barely missed each other. I remember I arrived at the airport and was texting Hugo while making my way to the metro where we were supposed to meet. There, I got on the elevator to go down to the platform and just as the elevator doors closed, I saw Hugo coming up the escalator. “I think I just saw you,” I typed. Whoops!

Our first picture together


After we met in person, it was like everything sped up. We saw each other every. single. day. At a certain point Dorothy had to tell Hugo “no” to hanging out just for one day. Not because she didn’t want to, and he definitely did, but because she started to think that maybe every single day was too often? Thankfully? Dorothy was terrible at saying no. For example, one day during the very first week, Hugo asked her if they could have lunch together on campus. Dorothy said yes because she had thought that the picnic she was supposed to have with her classmate had been canceled since it was supposed to rain. Then it didn’t rain and the picnic was un-canceled. But instead of apologizing to him and rescheduling the lunch together, Dorothy suggested he join our picnic. Hugo had only brought food just for the two of them and was surprised to meet the whole group. Everyone shared food together and chatted. The picture that was taken of the GLOBED class at the picnic that day is still on the main page of the GLOBED masters program website. Hugo included.

(This joke about Hugo being a part of our program from the very beginning lasted until our graduation where he received a fake diploma for our masters with his name on it)


Besides that one day break that I forced us to take, I continued to see Hugo everyday. We went to museums, watched movies together, went to the beach, went to classes together. I told him once that a small graffiti with the r-word on it upset me and I really hated seeing it everyday. The next day, he covered it with stickers of my favorite fish.

Like what the heck! Here was this guy who had gone out of his way to take an online friend’s classmate (who he didn’t know at all) to the police station and helped interpret for her. Who remembered my favorite fish, printed stickers of it, and one by one used those stickers to cover up graffiti on a tall sign just because it made me sad. He helped me and my roommates with Spanish bureaucracy. He came with us to government offices, called them for appointments, even argued with staff members of the agency that we used to rent our apartment. And he would clean our kitchen and put our dishes away in the mornings!? Plus he was ridiculously cute and handsome!!

Anyway, so we started officially dating like two weeks after meeting in person, probably confessed our love like a week later, and moved in together after another month (like a month + 1 week of dating). I can’t express enough how fast it all went but also how natural and right it all felt. Hugo picked me up from the airport and then we never separated (minus that one day).


After 2 years of relationship we decided to get married and I couldn’t be happier. I used to see marriage as something unnecessary and troublesome. Now is something that just feels right and I’m sure that it’s because it’s with Dorothy. I look forward to the many adventures we will have in the future and I will always be glad for the many happy coincidence that put our paths together. Wish us luck 🙂

We hope you enjoyed our little love story
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