By Brittni Henderson
In 2016, after years of failed relationships, heartbreak, and a tainted vision of love, Mikala (Bazinet) Giordano, 30 decided to drop everything to help a friend in need that was living on a military base in Italy. Mikala’s friend was going through a divorce and needed help caring for her young daughter for a few months. Unbeknownst to her, life as she knew it was about to change drastically as well. This time, instead of hardship or pain, life would throw Mikala the love story she never knew she needed.
After spending just three days in Italy, Mikala was at the beach enjoying the beautiful southern Italian sun in the coastal city of Gaeta. There was a moment when she realized she needed to know what time it was, but there was no one around her that spoke English and she had not yet learned Italian. Suddenly, the gentleman sitting just behind her on the beach appeared to help her. Ciro Giordano, now 31, also did not speak English, but with the help of Google Translate and natural body language, the two strangers figured it out.
At that moment something sparked between the two. Mikala admits that she was definitely “smitten” with Ciro at first sight, but was at a stage in her life where she did not believe in love. After being broken countless times by others, she was in a place where she just did not think it was feasible for her to ever find someone who would treat her differently.
“I was smitten by his smile and the laugh of this Italian man,” Mikala says, “and he later told me he was captivated by me, the ‘green-eyed American.’”
As the two began their courtship, Mikala’s friend would tag along to fill in any confusion if Google Translate or body language couldn’t get their messages across. Mikala admits that her friend was a true savior in their early stages of dating because without her, they would not have been able to get to know each other so quickly and so soon. The pair would go on different types of dates, some more “American” on the military base, like bowling and video games, and some more locally in downtown Naples and to learn more about Italian culture.
“No matter what, he was always willing to drop everything to see me,” Mikala says, “and that made me feel like a queen.”
The love began to blossom quickly, and Mikala realized that this was what love felt like. After about two months of dating, Ciro invited Mikala to Sunday dinner at his mother’s home. She was very nervous for many reasons, including the fact that no one spoke English or even Italian, but rather the local dialect Neapolitan. The entire time they were in his mother’s home, Ciro paid close attention to make sure Mikala was okay, held her hand under the table at dinner, and introduced her to each and every parent, sibling, aunt, uncle, niece, nephew, and everyone in between.
“I was so scared but felt so safe,” Mikala shares. “That was the first time that I realized I loved him. I let my guard down, drank the wine, laughed when I saw everyone else laugh, and used Google Translate when trying to add my own two cents.”
When it was almost time for Mikala to return back to Smithfield, RI, she had an epiphany. While on base helping her friend, she looked out the window and saw Ciro playing soccer with 10 American children. In this small moment, her heart melted. She knew what she had to do. She immediately called her mother and told her that she was here to stay.
“I told my mom, ‘I love this man. I’m not coming home.’” Mikala says.
As with every type of relationship, Mikala and Ciro admit they have ups and downs, but have discovered their unique ways of helping each other get through them.
“We have times where we don’t see eye to eye, but are both learning that there is a balance. Not only within the relationship, but also with cultural differences as well. But our love always outweighed it all.”
Mikala feels strongly that one of the main pillars of their love story is the fact that neither of them bases their lives off of anyone else. They don’t allow anyone to tell them what is normal or how things “should” or “shouldn’t” be. They also each have people in their lives that have guided them through difficult times and have taught them important life lessons.
“My parents Steven and Lori Quattrini from Smithfield are my role models,” Mikala says. “Anytime we need advice, we call my mom. From when Ciro met my parents, he has always said he wants to be like them, and that made me so happy to hear. My parents respect and love each other as a team. They have been married for about 20 years, but together for 27. They have a lot to teach us!”
Mikala and Ciro were married twice. The first in December 2017 in a secret ceremony for close family in America in the fountain at DePasquale Square on Federal Hill in Providence, RI. Mikala’s grandfather would not be able to attend their wedding in Italy, so they decided to hold a small ceremony in Rhode Island so he could attend. In April 2018, the two wed in a beautiful ceremony in Naples, Italy.
The pair is excited to announce that they will be moving home just in time for Valentine’s Day 2020, as they are expecting their first child.
“Just another reason why I love Ciro—when I asked if we go to America for a few years for the birth of our baby, he did not question it at all. All he said is, ‘If it is best for you and the baby, then it is best for me.’”