Everything happens for a reason. And no couple knows that better than Ilan Kazmirik and Dr. Maria Galimidi.
After Ilan and Maria started dating, they learned their families had known each other since the 1940s, when both lived in Alexandria, Egypt.
During World War II, the families, both Jewish, fled to escape being deported to Germany.
Maria’s father’s family fled to Uruguay, while Ilan’s mother’s family escaped to Brazil. Ilan’s father lost his family in the war and later lived in Germany, Sudan and Israel. He moved to Brazil in the 1960s.
Maria’s family immigrated to the United States in 1981 to New Jersey and then to Miami in 1989. Ilan’s family emigrated from Brazil to Miami in 1987.
While Ilan attended a local public high school, Maria attended a Jewish school, at which Ilan’s sister and Maria’s mother became friends.
However, it wasn’t until their first year of college at Florida International University that Ilan and Maria met. Ilan was studying business, while Maria was preparing for a career in medicine. The two dated briefly before deciding to part ways.
However, that connection never waned. In 2005, they reconnected after Maria saw Ilan’s niece.
“It sounds very corny, but when you know, you know,” Maria says of when she realized she wanted to marry Ilan. “For me, it was a quintessential moment of that. Within two dates, I knew (I wanted to marry him).
“It was like a domino effect,” she says. “Some people say you have to work at it, but for us, there was none of that. Everything just fell into place. Neither of us had to question ourselves — whether we were meant to be together, or (if this was right).”
“We were on the same wavelength all the time,” he says. “We liked the same things. We never had an awkward, quiet moment. We complete each other.”
The couple married May 13, 2007.
START OF A NEW LIFE
Six months after the wedding, the couple moved to Wisconsin for a job opportunity for Maria.
“It was hard, because we were separated from our families, and we didn’t know anybody there, but at the same time, we had to grow closer together,” Maria says. “I think every marriage, once you are married and you have the reality of life around you, you have to work on how those things are not going to impact your marriage. If you let them, that’s what starts to build a wall between you.
Now, especially, Maria and Ilan value their relationship and their constant support for one another. The couple recently opened their own podiatry practice, Suncoast Food & Ankle, in the East County.
Maria is seeing patients at nursing homes and other locations as she builds a clientele. Ilan is helping with the business side of the practice, while he also works full-time as the national sales manager for Universal Storage Containers.
“We look at it as a challenge,” Maria says. “When one can’t do something, the other one picks up the slack. It’s teamwork.”
“We’ve overcome a lot of obstacles together, both at work and (personally),” Ilan adds. “We trust each other.”
The couple works non-stop, but both remain committed to keeping each other as a priority.
For Valentine’s Day, Ilan and Maria chuckle thinking about what they might do. A short cruise, they say, would be ideal, but may not happen because of work.
“We’ll probably have dinner catered to the practice while we’re finishing up work,” Ilan says, laughing.
Contact Pam Eubanks at firstname.lastname@example.org.