“We met on a creative writing website. It was actually my first time on the Internet. I was so innocent to online life that I gave him my phone number after only a few days of talking to him. He said, ‘You really shouldn’t have given me your number so quickly. I could have been anybody.’ Then I found the courage to tell him that I had a daughter, and he said, ‘That’s cool. I have no problem with that.’ I thought to myself, 'You’ve just chastised me for giving out my phone number, you’ve accepted my daughter with open arms, and you’ve sent me Valentine’s Day cards and CDs expressing your feelings.' Instantly, I was wooed. I had never been romanced in my life – before him, I had only dated cowboys and farm boys.
I was just a redneck cow farmer in Ohio, then I meet this guy and before I know it, I’m here. I had never left Ohio in my life, except for Kentucky, where I was born, and a trip to Washington, D.C., when I was in eighth grade. For a year, he kept telling me, ‘You have to come here. You’re gonna love this city.’ I was so scared. When I first came here, I was like, ‘Oh my God, why is everything so big?’ I come from cow country. We only have cornfields. I was blown away but fell in love instantly, and my life changed completely. I even joined a punk band! Now five years later, we have a baby coming. It’s the best time of my life – ever.
“I also have a 10-year-old, and four years after coming here myself, I finally got the guts to bring her to the city. We moved in together, and I got to see the joy in her eyes. She said, ‘Mom, where are the cows? This place smells good.’”
Portraits of Boston is a project of independent photographer Ivan Velinov. He is regularly sharing some of his favorite portraits with WBUR. Visit his website to see the hundreds of portraits he has taken on the streets of Boston.