From Barbados to Bucharest

Alicia Arendt, a foreign service officer with the Department of State serving at the United States Embassy in Bridgetown, Barbados, will be soon be transferred to a three-year post in Bucharest, Romania. And she’s taking with her something she did not have when she first arrived in Barbados in September 2018: her husband, Rohan Ford.

Ms. Arendt, 33, was born and raised in Mastic, N.Y., where she will return for a brief respite before leaving Eastern Long Island for Eastern Europe. She met Mr. Ford, a local businessman, at a bar in Barbados, on her second day on the Caribbean island.

“I thought he was such a smart guy, he kind of taught me about Barbados,” Ms. Arendt said. “And then he just kind of changed into this really loving person and treated me very nicely.”

She soon learned that Mr. Ford was involved in myriad businesses. He was the managing director of Oasis Ventures, a business development company in Barbados with interests in renewable energy, sports, entertainment and property development. He was also the owner of the Oasis, a sports complex in Barbados that focused on wellness.

“Alicia has taught me to be more organized, more focused and more efficient in business,” said Mr. Ford, who graduated from the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill, where he also received a master’s degree in business development and renewable energy.

They remained close friends until February 2019, when they parted ways for the first time, albeit only a few weeks, when Mr. Ford vacationed with friends for a week at the Trinidad and Tobago Carnival. “The whole time I was there, I couldn’t stop thinking about her,” Mr. Ford said. “I wanted to see her, I wanted her to be there with me.”

Ms. Arendt was experiencing the same feelings.

“We were both away from each other for a few weeks, and I’ll never forget the way I felt the day when we met up again to have lunch,” she said. “It was the day after Valentine’s Day, and I saw him getting out of his car to see me. I was nervous and excited and really happy to see him.

“Before that day, the emotions were not that strong, but that day it felt different, and that’s the day when our relationship really started to change.”

In the ensuing months Ms. Arendt also became close with Mr. Ford’s family, and he went along with her in April 2019 on a trip back to Mastic to meet her family.

“They loved him, they absolutely loved him,” said Ms. Arendt, who graduated from Temple University and received a master’s degree in executive public management and international relations from the University of Maryland.

They were engaged on Dec. 31, 2019, and were married July 25 at St. Patrick’s Roman Catholic Cathedral in Bridgetown, Barbados.

The Rev. Andrzej Nyga, a Roman Catholic priest, performed the ceremony in front of 30 guests who made the cut from an original list of 300 guests that disappeared with the presence of the coronavirus.

In September, the couple plan to take part in a small celebration ceremony for family and friends in Southampton, N.Y., and in 2022, they plan to host a family reunion-style wedding reception in Barbados that the coronavirus prevented them from having this year.



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