A young American woman joins the Peace Corps and completes a stint in Peru. She finds love with young Peruvian man, whom she marries; they embark on a life adventure. This sounds like a movie or a novel, but it’s the real-life story of Evelyn Kohl La Torre as outlined in Love in Any Language: A Memoir of a Cross-Cultural Marriage.
The 1960s were a time of change and adjustment. La Torre had many acclimations as a young bride, compounded by bringing her husband, Antonio, to the US. They also started a family shortly after their nuptials. It was a hefty load for the young couple and the author is candid with her feelings as they faced new challenges. She experienced frustration, exasperation, and impatience, but also joy and excitement, especially with the birth of their two sons.
Marriage is a constant puzzle in how to fit together different pieces. La Torre and Antonio encountered many obstacles, including housing and transportation issues and shifting employment. Both pursued advanced degrees while juggling a family. I found it revealing that an intrepid woman like La Torre grappled with being the main breadwinner, yet yearned to spend more time with her sons. Her husband struggled to find permanent employment, even spending a year in Peru for a job—which strained the marriage.
La Torre’s memoir is an insightful example of two partners who made it work, despite cultural differences. Love in Any Language is a good study in relationships. It highlights tenacity, perseverance, and commitment despite differences that sometimes threatened to engulf the marriage.