TAMPA — They grew up so differently — Liz Evora in Havana, David Z. Rose in suburban Philadelphia. She doesn't say too much about coming to America in 2003, while his diplomas announce internal medicine training at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio and a neurology residency at Jackson Memorial in Miami.
"Hola, me llamo David," he said to the beautiful redhead at the bar five years ago. "I just walked up and introduced myself."
No plan, pure impulse. In a million years, he could not have guessed her first thought.
"I looked at him and thought I am going to see his face for the rest of my life," said Liz.
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Liz arrived late to their first "date"— a medical dinner meeting in Fort Lauderdale. "Everyone watched me eat lobster while they were already on dessert," she said. She was a University of Miami broadcast journalism student at that time.
She was at ease on future occasions as they began spending time together. Baseball was an immediate and mutual attraction. Phillies for the Pennsylvanian, while Liz rooted for any Cuban player.
"I knew she was the one because the Phillies won every time she watched a game with me," David said. "If I went with someone else, they lost."
She, of course, credits Cuban skills.
One time, driving to Atlanta to see the Phillies versus the Braves, the couple got a flat tire.
Un momento, por favor. Having grown up in Cuba, where cars are maintained forever, Liz had the spare on in five minutes.
Travel is their second favorite pastime. Good thing, because in July 2010, David began a stroke fellowship at the University of Pennsylvania. Soon after, Liz took the 5 p.m. anchor slot in Amarillo, Texas, on Noticiero Telemundo.
"Amarillo is nine hours from the nearest big city, dry and desolate, in the middle of nowhere," said David, "so we would meet in Dallas or Milwaukee." They also took vacations to Rome and Cartagena, Colombia.
Home has been a high-rise condo on Bayshore Boulevard in south Tampa since September 2011. That's when David became an assistant professor of neurology at the University of South Florida and medical director of the neurology ICU at Tampa General Hospital. Liz works for Bay News 9's Spanish news affiliate, InfoMas.
Joining David's parents on a humanitarian mission trip to Havana in May 2012 provided two emotional opportunities.
First, Liz was reunited with her father after a decade apart. Second, David got to ask permission to marry his daughter. "My Spanish is pretty good, but my father insisted a bilingual security guard at the Hotel Nacional made sure that he understood," he said.
Their next trip, to Atlantic City, N.J., two months later, required even more planning. David rented an airplane to fly a huge banner over the beach.
The ring was almost AWOL before his airborne proposal: David Loves Lizzy, will you marry me?
David's dad, with the diamond ring tucked in the pocket of his swim trunks, headed into the ocean just then.
With the flight timed to the minute, David called him back and nudged Liz to look up. Her eyes focused on the sky, then dropped to the face of the man she chose to see for the rest of her life.
Rabbi Max Hausen married the couple March 2 under a chuppah at sundown behind the Don CeSar Resort, followed by mojitos and cigars on the beach. Rabbi Hausen, now 88, also officiated at David's bar mitzvah.
The next day, the newlyweds chartered a bus and took 50 friends and relatives to a Phillies baseball game.
Of course, they won (13-5). Dr. and Mrs. Rose watched it together.
Amy Scherzer can be reached at [email protected] or (813) 226-3332.