Who hasn’t daydreamed of falling in love in paradise? After all, there’s nothing more romantic than sandy beaches, crashing waves, floral cocktails, and stunning sunsets. For the couples on “Love in Paradise: The Caribbean, a 90 Day Story,” this daydream is a reality, but it might sometimes be more nightmare than fantasy. This new show from discovery+ follows international couples as they go from falling in love in the Caribbean to trying to make a cross-ocean relationship work.
And Amber and Daniel’s story is particularly compelling. As per a PR statement from discovery+, Amber, a waitress from Florida, met Daniel, a Venezuelan living in Costa Rica, when she was on vacation. After three years of dating and many trips back to the tropical paradise, Amber is ready for her and Daniel to begin their forever life together in the U.S. But with a language barrier, a global pandemic, and a nasty visa application process, things aren’t quite going to plan. Amber sat down with The List for an exclusive interview in which she spilled all the details about her relationship.
Amber opens up about how she met Daniel
Can you start off by explaining your relationship in your own words?
Well, essentially international dating, I was traveling and I ended up going to Costa Rica, and amongst my travels, I met Daniel and as the time went on, things got more serious between Daniel and I. I’ve lived in Florida and he lives in Costa Rica. So we just, we can’t be together every day and we just have WhatsApp, FaceTime, and texts when we can’t be together so definitely, long-distance international relationship, cultural differences, language differences.
When you first met, how long did you spend in person together?
Our first meeting was more so, I had spent over 20 days in Costa Rica, and I ended up meeting Daniel at the end of my very first trip and did I aspire it to be anything serious? No, I was traveling and living my best life.
How long has it been since you guys first met? How long have you been dating?
Over three years.
And how many times have you gone back to Costa Rica to visit him or has he come to Florida to visit you?
I have been over 15 times, and he’s been to the United States zero.
Why is that?
He’s from Venezuela. His passport’s Venezuelan.
That makes it tough for him to get a visa?
When you love someone, you love someone, right?
Exactly, it doesn’t matter the distance.
Can you describe the moment you met Daniel? Did you know right away that he was someone special? Did it bloom over time?
It bloomed over time. I was on vacation, and I was just living my best life, and as time went on and just getting to know each other more, even though we spoke two different languages, we still spoke the language of love, but our first encounter was really just partying and drinking and having a good time. So, I didn’t think anything too serious would come from it.
I had been traveling with some friends and they just met some guys and we were like, do they have any friends? One thing led to another and we all started drinking together and then he shows up — would I say love at first sight? No, but at that moment I was like, “Oh, he is so fine.”
What was it about him that transformed the relationship from a vacation fling to the man you want to be with for the rest of your life?
Daniel was really eager to know about me and who I was as a person, and from any other hookup or anything, even guys here off of Tinder and stuff like that, they only look for one thing: to hook up with you and not really get to know who you are, and Daniel was different. He really wanted to know who I was.
What Amber from Love in Paradise loves most about Daniel
What’s the thing you love most about Daniel?
He’s so funny. He’s so fine. Besides him being so handsome, he just has this presence. There’s something about him. For me, when he walks into a room, it’s the first thing I notice. It’s the only thing. He’s the only one I notice. He’s just so eager, eager to learn, eager to understand who I am. He’s eager to get to know who I am and like peel back those layers, even though we didn’t even speak the same language.
Tell me a little bit more about that because he speaks Spanish, I’m assuming
Do you speak any Spanish?
How does it work then? He must obviously speak a little bit of English.
Well, sometimes Translate doesn’t get it right all the time. We relied on translating apps and our first experience together, the first several times, was literally just translating everything.
Yeah. It’s not easy. You get mad over things that translate differently in how they’re saying it and how I’m saying it, but he wanted to prove that he wanted to be with me if anything, because I was still traveling, and so he really put in the work, and the time, and buckled down and downloaded apps to learn English, and would ask me to repeat things, and he was so eager to speak English just so we could talk.
It’s incredible. It’s really incredible. The lengths that he went, just so we can communicate properly and not even properly. He learned English so he could talk to me and so he could understand me better. I’ve never had anybody do that for me.
Tell me more about what it was like falling in love in Costa Rica. Talk about romance, right?
A wild ride, wild ride. It is exhilarating. It’s intense. It’s an intense love and when you are with somebody and apart with somebody, the passion grows more and more and when you are with each other, it’s so intense and the passion is like fire. It’s what keeps me so involved. I’m ready. Every time, every new trip, that happened. That flame got bigger and bigger, and it made me feel alive. It made me feel so sexual, so feminine, so aware, and yet, so scandalous.
I get to travel to another country and to be with the guy that I love and, although it’s not every day, I would hope. I would literally count down the days until I could get back to that, to him, so it’s that want. It’s so exhilarating that you have somebody that’s waiting for you and they’re waiting to do everyday stuff with you, and even just sitting on the couch, he would be like, “I got to hold myself back.” I would say, having an intense love like that, it brought me alive.
Amber reveals the most difficult parts of applying for a K-1 Visa
Since you’re applying for the K1 visa, the plan is for him to move to the states?
How has that process been?
Well, doing anything with the government is a nightmare. There’s no book on it. There’s not enough blogs. There’s not enough people because what one person goes through in another, in one country doesn’t necessarily go for your country or for the country that he’s from. Being from Venezuela, living in Costa Rica, we faced hurdles with that. Venezuela being sanctioned here in the United States. You face hurdles with that too. There’s nobody that can answer your question. You have to figure it out and that’s what everyone’s going to see. I don’t know how somebody could go through this and not even speak the language.
It’s the hardest thing even when you want to start with form one, it’s overwhelming. There’s like 42 pages [that] involved your whole life. Everything divulges. You have to, literally, give everything about you to the government, which they already do have in a sense, but you have to take on ownership of “I’m about to be responsible for another person, financially, for a long time.” Paperwork is not easy and everybody that can go and get a lawyer and do all that, that’s great for them. I use my own brain. It’s just forms on forms, on forms, on forms and you better hope you don’t mess up the forms there.
There’s just a lot riding on this paperwork.
Your whole life.
Whole life and, then, it affects somebody else’s life. So it’s a journey that’s for sure.
If God forbid, something goes wrong, is it on the table for you to move down to Costa Rica and be with him there?
No, not at all.
So if something was wrong, that would be the end.
Yeah, I don’t speak Spanish. I don’t speak the language, and this is my home.
Have you guys had conversations about that possibility?
We talk about a lot of things. I don’t steer the direction of I’m going to definitely do this, but I’m going to definitely not do this. You know what I mean? My brain always says one thing and my heart says another, so I’m in a constant battle and I can sit here and say, “No, I never would,” but then, I don’t know.
That was my brain reaction saying, “Yeah, no, I would never,” and then my heart’s like, but for Daniel. It’s so hard.
This Love in Paradise Star's man really knows how to charm her
Tell me your favorite memory of you and Daniel’s relationship.
Gosh, favorite memory? I don’t know, it’s little things. It’s the little things that Daniel does from just in the kitchen. Whenever [he] sings. He sings to me; he likes serenades. It’s a beautiful Spanish ballad that he serenades me with, and then it’ll grab me and I want [him] to start dancing with me and I’m like, this … is so cute. I would never be dancing in the kitchen. Just full-on cooking. It makes me feel so loved.
How has your relationship changed since when you first got together?
Through the course of our relationship of going from being a hookup to something more serious and doing the whole K1 application and then throw COVID in there, it transpired a lot from being able to go visit him and then COVID coming and not being able to. Then, we take on the seriousness of the K1 application, It puts [on] a lot of pressure, but I think taking the next step in all relationships, it puts a lot of pressure on things. I didn’t expect so much pressure really. I don’t know. I’ve never done anything like this. I’ve never been in love with somebody in another country. I never had a pandemic tell me I can’t go anywhere. You know what I mean? I’ve never had to sit with my own thoughts and feelings and have to worry about somebody somewhere else, so it really puts a lot of pressure on us, for sure, and I think everyone’s definitely going to see this season. The pressure, it’s a lot.
Amber dishes on what viewers can expect to see on Love in Paradise
Can you give us some hints about what viewers can expect to see this season?
I think they’re going to see the ups and the downs of just how hard it is to keep something so beautiful alive and to balance real life, balance a life in another country. I think it’s a roller coaster. Hey, it’s a wild roller coaster because nobody can prepare you for any of this involved, and everything’s so heightened due to COVID, and you take things more seriously than you did. Then, you realize things you took for granted prior to before and how important it is now, and I think everyone’s just going to see. We all struggled in different ways. I can’t imagine going through another year like that.
When was the last time you saw Daniel?
When everything started to open back up with COVID, I was able to take a trip to see him, something short, because due to lack of work, people working in the states, my schedule’s pretty booked. I got to work. I got to work.
What do you do?
I’m a server-slash-bartender.
Do you have a favorite moment from this season?
Favorite moments? I think being able to see him again. We had to be apart for so long and not by choice. So, being together and feeling kind of free, even though we still had to wear our masks and do everything based on lockdown and quarantines and testing and everything. When I was with him, I felt free again. I felt like, “Oh, I’m myself again.”
Why Amber wanted to share her story on Love in Paradise
So what made you want to share your story?
I’m really lucky. Sometimes I don’t appreciate how hard it’s all been for us and it’s a beautiful love, and if you can have somebody that lights that fire that you felt like you’d never deserved or, or didn’t think you could get, I’m really lucky in that manner. I’m so lucky to experience what I’ve experienced and go through and, if anything, I just want to show it ain’t easy and it takes a lot of work on both sides. They say love conquers all. I’m still hoping and waiting for that to be conquered.
It’s a wild ride and I think [of] all the stories that I’ve shared with my friends. When I go on these trips and these vacations that I was able to take and when I come home, when I share with my friends and they’re like, “What, that really happened?” I’m like, “Yeah, I can’t believe it either.” I don’t even know where to start, where to begin, where it ends. I think, with COVID and everything, we forgot how there’s a lot of beautiful things in this world. Love being one of them, selflessness being another, and and motive, being ambitious. I’m ambitious about this love. I’m here to do the work for this love and I’m really lucky.
Is there anything that you wish viewers would get to see, but might not have been caught on camera?
Oh man. I mean, for the most part, the good, the bad, the ugly, the highs, the lows, the tears, the happiness, the joy, it is all those things and to sit there and say our relationship is perfect is a lie. No relationship is perfect. And you, if you’re willing to put in the work, I think the work gets shown and I don’t know. I really don’t know. I don’t know offhand anything that I could think of that like wasn’t shown.
Amber shares what the early days of her relationship with Daniel were like
How did he court you?
Right. I had been traveling when I met Daniel, I was actually about to be leaving in three weeks to go to Australia for six weeks. So I thought it’s just a one-night stand booty call, even though he spent three days, a three-nights stand, whatever you want to call it. I was all for it and, then when I left and went back to real life, I was like, oh, I’ll probably never talk to him again. I’ll never hear from him and I mean, literally the day I left [him], there hasn’t been a day that he hasn’t texted me or called me since then, three years later.
I don’t know, it was just really fascinating to watch him try to learn English and then be able to speak this one sentence to me or these two sentences to me because he wanted to talk to me, he wanted to know what I was saying. [He] wanted to understand what I was saying. Then, I was in Australia and he happened to put minutes on his phone or something, and when he called me, I was visiting a kangaroo park and when I answered it, I’m just sitting next to the kangaroo.
He was so moved by that and I would have never seen anything like this, like ever in my life, and at that moment, just seeing his eyes open and been like, wow, that’s incredible, and that experience, I was able to not just give him, but share with him, it just clicked at that moment. From that moment on, we just talked more and more about each other and about likes and dislikes.
He’s an Aquarius and I am a Taurus, but you would think he’s a Scorpio because he’s really intense and stubborn and it gives me a good run for my money. It’s not a good balance. I wouldn’t say balance, but it can be a challenge, but I don’t want to be content in a relationship. I don’t want to settle for somebody and I don’t want a man that I can … I’m alpha female, and I’m type A. I don’t want to walk all over somebody, and Daniel never had a problem to take a stance, even if I am right, wrong, happy, mad, sad. He’s still going to do and say what he wants to do.
So there’s something like, yeah, I could get that here, sure, but I’m never here. You don’t have somebody who is so selfless that they’re willing to learn another language and they’re willing to learn about you and your culture and, granted, I did too. I wanted to learn. I’m practicing Spanish, but is it good?
No, he’s better at it so it’s easier. It comes really easy to him and I’m so intrigued. I love to learn stuff and I love to learn facts about this and that and he loves to learn too. He’ll tell me something. I’m like, oh, I didn’t know that. Very inquisitive, yet, I don’t know. There’s just something that he’s got that fire of life still, and he’s the lighter to the gasoline, if anything. It lights the flame. So eager. I’ve never had anybody to be so swarmed by me. It makes me feel beautiful just by talking to him or by singing and dancing and, sometimes he doesn’t even have to say anything and I feel it.
Amber from Love in Paradise has no regrets
Are you nervous about sharing your love and your story so openly with the world?
I don’t really care. I don’t really care what anyone’s got to say. It’s my life. Nobody knows the struggles. Nobody knows the hardship. Nobody knows the love that we know is what goes on between. Not that they don’t know what goes on between us, but like they’ve never walked into my shoes. They don’t know why I react this way, why I feel this way, why I love this way, why this is so important to me to share. It’s an incredible opportunity at our hands, and it ain’t a beautiful love story, but it’s a love story and it looks like it could be a train wreck and it can be a fairy tale at the same time. I think just reminding people through everything, through COVID, and love is work. It doesn’t matter if they’re in the same country, next door, across the sea, love takes work and it’s easy to call it quits and to give up. It’s so easy to do that. Anyone can do that. Anyone can give up.
Do you have any regrets about your relationship or your story?
Regret wise? Everything’s really a lesson. I don’t think it’s a regret because I’ve never been in love with somebody in another country. I’ve never had to do a K1 application. I never even had to be this serious with somebody, so I don’t regret anything. I just take it as a lesson and try to do better next time and be better.
What are your hopes for your relationship? When you sit and you envision you and Daniel’s future together, what does that look like?
Looks like a big old house, children, a family. We want to start a family. I want to start the next chapter with us together as in the same place. Call me crazy — fairytale land, kids, family, a big house, white picket fence. That’s the fairy tale, but my situation at hand, and I mean, even COVID killed a lot of dreams so just being together permanently, it’s really all we’re shooting for. I’m going to start off small as everyone’s going to see. We face a lot of hurdles.
One step at a time.
Exactly. I can’t do 10. I can’t do 10 because disappointment comes. Good, bad, it happens, so I always say, “Eye on the prize,” and the prize [is] to be with Daniel.
Yeah, you just want to be together.
Yeah. That’s it.
“Love in Paradise: The Caribbean, a 90 Day Story” premieres July 18th on discovery+.
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