Nicole M. Gandia ’09 and her fiancé Lino A. Gonzalez first forged their relationship over a love of salsa dancing.
“We met my freshman year. We both dance salsa and I went to take his salsa class,” Gandia said. “Months later, I went out to dance salsa in Central Square at a place called the Havana Club, and he was there. We started dancing.”
The pair grew to be quick friends and salsa partners, but did not become romantic for several years. “We were both in relationships, and from my freshman year up until my junior year we were friends,” Gandia said. “Our relationship was limited to salsa.”
But one night over dancing, Gandia and Gonzalez realized that they had both broken up with their respective significant others. They started dating soon after, and on the couple’s one-year anniversary, Gonzalez proposed.
Gonzalez completed his Ph.D in chemical engineering at MIT in 2008. Although Gandia is eight years his junior, she doesn’t think about the age difference.
“We were both students when we met. We like doing the same fun things together,” she said. “I think we’re the same emotional age.”
The couple just purchased a condominium together in Davis Square, where they will live for the next two years. Gonzalez will be working for the chemical engineering company Aerodyne, and Gandia will join Teach for America in Boston. She plans on applying to law school.
After a long engagement, the couple will wed next summer in Puerto Rico. The traditional Catholic ceremony will take place in a church and the reception will be held at a hotel in the beachfront neighborhood of El Condado in San Juan. Gandia, who comes from a large family, estimates that over 300 guests will attend the festive affair.
“We are all very into music and dancing, so music will be a big part of the wedding,” Gandia said. “We’ll have an orchestra of guitars, a Latin music band, and an English band. Both of our families like to party.”