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By Laura Withers, PA Real Life

This couple met each other while studying English and Spanish on a website while living more than 5,000 miles apart. Now, they are sharing their story and how they will get married.

When his 2012 summer term finished and sixth form over, Oliver Hodkingson, decided to learn a new language. He decided to learn Spanish on a language tuition site Busuu.

Meanwhile, 5,000 miles away in Guatemala City, Melody Gudiel Torres was logging on to the same website wanting to brush up on her English.

Ollie and Melody Hodgkinson (Collect/ PA Real Life)

For six months she had been enjoying video calls with English speaking fellow students arranged through the site to practice her language skills.

And when Oliver asked to try out his Spanish with her it soon lead to a transatlantic relationship, ending in marriage in December 2015.

Oliver settled in Guatemala, before moving back to England with his wife in July 2019.

“I do feel like fate bought us together," he said.

Ollie and Melody Hodgkinson (Collect/ PA Real Life)

“If I'd carried on studying Arabic and hadn't switched to Spanish, I might never have met Melody, which I don't really want to think about. I'm convinced it was meant to be," he continued.

“I'm not a particularly adventurous person, or the type to just jet off to the other side of the world, but after I met Melody that's exactly what I did. I do think love drove me to do it and it's the best decision I've ever made."

The couple moved to the UK last year.

“When lockdown is over, we want to have a family party to celebrate living in England for a year. It'll be nice to do this with my parents, as they never made it to the wedding," Oliver said.

“Now they know Melody they see her as a daughter. But, understandably, when I told them I'd found 'The One' on a language website, but she lived 5,000 miles away, they laughed."

Ollie and Melody Hodgkinson (Collect/ PA Real Life)

"Now they're happy I randomly picked Spanish to learn – because if I hadn't, we'd never have met," he continued.

But finding a relationship had been the last thing on either of their minds when they had signed up to Busuu.

Melody was totally focused on her career back then.

“I'd always loved languages and I was teaching primary school children how to speak English and wanted to practice, so I would be better at my job," she said.

Ollie and Melody Hodgkinson (Collect/ PA Real Life)

Habitually conversing with native English speakers over six months on the site, Melody admits that when she saw Oliver's face he stood out.

“I was like, 'Oh, well he's nice to look at', I quite fancy speaking with him,'" she said.

“But, at the time I didn't know that Oliver's Spanish was pretty awful, so it was difficult to communicate."

Still, he was determined to impress Melody.

“I tried to show off, as I knew the Spanish for colors and the months of the year, but I couldn't quite hold a conversation," Oliver said.

Determined to improve their command of each other's languages, they began sending voice notes to each other in their language and translate them using Google.

Ollie and Melody Hodgkinson (Collect/ PA Real Life)

“For some reason we just clicked, I don't know why. It's easy to get bored of someone who's on the other side of the world sending you long messages that you have to translate into your own language – but we never did," Oliver said.

Then a part-time barista, Oliver would stay awake until the early hours, just so he could video call Melody before heading to work.

“I really liked him, but it just felt like a hopeless dream, because he was so far away. I never believed it would work," Melody said.

Still, she decided to profess her feelings by sending a recorded message for him to translate.

However that note was in Italian instead of Spanish.

“Melody was very sneaky about it," he laughed. “I just assumed my Spanish wasn't as good as I thought it was and I didn't want to tell her I had no idea what she'd said so I just left it."

But soon after, he too confessed his feelings to her in a video call.

“My parents thought I was mad, but I didn't care. I was so naive, I was adamant it would work," he said.

“I just had the attitude of, 'So what we live so far apart? So what about the cultural differences? We can deal with that."

Ollie and Melody Hodgkinson (Collect/ PA Real Life)

Melody had kept Oliver secret from her family and felt more apprehensive.

“I couldn't tell my family, because I wasn't really allowed to have a boyfriend unless we were getting married," she said.

“After a while I thought my relationship with Oliver was just a dream, and that nothing would ever come of it."

Ollie and Melody Hodgkinson (Collect/ PA Real Life)

But, in April 2013 Oliver applied for a one-month role in Guatemala teaching English to children.

“It was so weird seeing someone from the internet in person for the first time," Oliver said.

“We'd never spoken about how tall we were. I'm 5ft 9, but even still, for a second I panicked that she'd be taller than me but, thankfully, she wasn't. She was perfect."

And Melody was equally impressed.

“I was overcome with nerves, but he was so handsome, more handsome in really life," she said. “By that point I already knew he was the one, and I had butterflies because I knew I was in love."

Ollie and Melody Hodgkinson (Collect/ PA Real Life)

Melody was busy studying Italian at university and teaching English during the week so they could only meet at weekends. And her family still did not know that Oliver existed.

When she finally told her family they were shocked.

“I'd never even had a boyfriend before, but I explained what Oliver had done and how he had travelled all this way just to see me, so my father realized how much he cared for me," she said.

Ollie and Melody Hodgkinson (Collect/ PA Real Life)

Meeting the parents was nerve-racking.

“My Spanish still wasn't great, especially trying to keep up with all the different dialects, so I just did a lot of shaking hands and smiling," he said.

Melody's father believed him and said the couple could build a house on the family land. So, on returning home, Oliver saved money and returned to Guatemala for good in 2015, with an engagement ring.

“It was the most amazing moment of my life," she said.

Ollie and Melody Hodgkinson (Collect/ PA Real Life)

They got married in December 2015 in a traditional Christian ceremony in Guatemala. Oliver's parents could not attend, but financed a trip to England for the couple so they could finally meet their daughter-in-law.

In July 2019 the couple returned to England, although they hope to retire to Guatemala.

“It's like a dream come true finding Oliver. One day we'd love to settle down and have children. But we just want a humble, simple life – we're so happy and content at just having found each other," Melody said.