Magic in the Meeting

After our first post many people asked how we met.


"We have a daughter together, but we met for the first time in September 2018."


"WHAAT???" is the reaction we always get? 


Carmen Ring invited us both, along with a few others, to join her at a business conference in Phoenix, AZ.  We had heard of each other through Carmen.


Carmen first met Jan when she was 12 years old. Already adept at languages, her mom brought her along as her personal translator from Romania to the Netherlands for a project meeting. Carmen loves to tell about how her mom dressed her up in a women’s business suit so she looked official. Jan was a consultant to the project.

Jan Driegen, Zinica Trandafirescu (Carmen's mom) and Carmen (Trandafirescu) Ring (in her pink business suit) circa 2004

Over the next few years, Jan made many trips to Romania to work with her mom establishing farming and adequate food production for the Romanian Prison System where she was a magistrate. He got to know Carmen and her family very well. When Carmen started university in Bucharest Jan hired her as representative of his Dutch company in Romania. During her studies and after graduating with a degree in economics, he hired her first as an intern and then, knowing she had dreams and aspirations to work internationally, he hired her as marketing manager. His attention to her welfare earned him her affectionate nickname “my other dad”.


Carmen had read Harv Eker's book Secrets of the Millionaire Mind while in Romania and came to the USA May 1, 2012, to attend one of his seminars in New York City. The moment she got off the subway coming from JFK, she knew she was home.


Now seven months later, December 2012, she and Maggie met while serving as back stage crew at a 'Millionaire Mind Intensive' seminar in Baltimore. They found themselves laughing and hugging a lot! Learning that it would be Carmen’s first Christmas away from her family in Romania, Maggie invited her to spend the holidays with her family in New Jersey. Carmen fit right in. Maggie felt like she was one of her kids since she was their age and just as enjoyable. It was during the holidays that Carmen dubbed Maggie her “American mom".


Carmen Ring and Maggie Burgisser Christmas 2012

Coming to the conference in Phoenix six years later, Jan was curious about meeting this Maggie, who Carmen called her ‘American Mom,' but was not thinking about a relationship at all even though he had been widowed three years.


Maggie didn't expect a thing concerning this 'other dad' until he picked her up at the Phoenix airport. At the Airbnb Carmen had arranged there was time to chat before the others arrived. Widowed for nine years she had not dated at all but suddenly her senses picked up.


Five days together with the group at the conference and Maggie admits there was nothing about Jan she did not like.


Maybe it was the breakfast that first morning that grabbed her. Breakfast he carefully prepared, including Gouda cheese and almond cake he brought from Holland, and, coffee and canned mackerel from the Airbnb cupboard, all carefully presented... Oh wait, there was all of that and those delicious Dutch treats he brought, Stroopwafels; waffle cookies filled with caramel that you place on top of your coffee to let the caramel melt. At just the right moment you bite in and swoon, experiencing heaven on earth!


Breakfast prepared by Jan that first morning at the Airbnb in Phoenix, September 29, 2018 including Stroopwafels

Or maybe it was how he interpreted each speaker's messages at the conference? Or how attentive he was to everyone's comments and needs? Or was it how he managed to stay perfectly calm travelling with three women who changed their minds a lot during a side trip to the Grand Canyon and Sedona after the conference?


Or maybe, very possibly, it was his ever-present sense of humour!


Leslie Bennett, Jan Driegen, Maggie Burgisser, Carmen Ring at the Grand Canyon October 1, 2018

A flirtation following the Arizona trip was very public but discreetly carried out on Facebook and FB Messenger. It continued over the next three months. New Year's Eve Maggie and Jan started a private chat. Even though they both seemed to think it would be great to toast in the new year together, Jan wrote, "There is a little problem. There's an ocean between us." "It is only water," Maggie observed. Then the messages stopped. For weeks.


The truth? Jan was reluctant to date, to initiate a relationship. In January 2019 he traveled to San Diego and began the intensive transformational training he committed to during the Phoenix conference in September. His new friends and mentors in the program convinced him that it was nonsense not to date and he needed to reconsider and step up.


A few days later Jan asked Maggie if she would like to join him in San Miguel de Allende in Mexico at the end of January where he would be meeting some business colleagues. YES! She proclaimed enthusiastically. 


True love was born as that first date unfolded, the first 'first-date' for each in 45 years, unfolding in five magical days, five days in one of the world’s most beautiful cities.


This blog is about our story.  It’s about romance and true love in later years; about new love as an adjunct to a life well-lived; about fun and adventure with no time limit. 


And about never knowing where or through whom romance will arrive!


Us having a laugh about something standing beside an abandoned cow chute on our way to the Grand Canyon October 1, 2018 No, we were not dating at the time but it sure looks like we could!



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