Love affair blossoms from Cuban baseball tour for Island woman

Love affair blossoms from Cuban baseball tour for Island woman

Trucker Guzman ties the knot with Union de Reyes coach

As a long-haul trucker, nothing put the brakes on Patricia Guzman’s life. Until Jose Luis Munoz came along, that is, and steered her in a different direction.

Crofton’s Guzman and Munoz were married in Cuba, the culmination of a relationship that blossomed during the Union de Reyes Cuban baseball team’s ongoing exchange in both Cuba and Canada with the Chemainus & District Baseball Association.

Little did Guzman know at the time, but the wheels went in motion when she met the association’s Rick Shay through a friend and a trip to Cuba was discussed for 2016.

“I was asked to go on board as a translator,” Guzman pointed out.

“I didn’t really think my life was changing, but it did,” added the longtime driver for H&R Transport, based out of Calgary.

Guzman met Munoz, one of the coaches of the Union de Reyes team, during the first day of that 2016 Cuban trip.

“We were so busy with ball,” she recalled. “He caught my eye. It was one of those fleeting thoughts, ‘what are you going to do? He’s in Cuba.’ Something sparked and then I tried to reason against us.”

In 2017, the Cubans received clearance to come to Canada to reciprocate the tour.

Guzman was staying at her friend Chris Childs’ place and he opened his home for two of the visiting ballplayers to stay there. As fate would have it, he wound up housing two adults, including Munoz, of course, and not two ballplayers.

“That was my go-to-place when I came off the road,” said Guzman, who otherwise lived in her truck, and found herself rekindling those previous feelings with Munoz.

“We ended up spending the week together,” she noted. “The fourth day in, we were ‘what is this?’ We decided if fate kept bringing us together, we should give it a try.”

Guzman and Munoz maintained a long-distance relationship when he returned to Cuba and then hurricane Irma happened there, sparking fears of what it would be like if they never saw each other again.

Guzman decided to do some humanitarian work for the cause and went back to Cuba in October to give out clothing and do whatever she could to help out.

“In the midst of the two weeks there, he proposed,” she said. “I wouldn’t believe it if I wasn’t living it.”

And, then, on May 11 of this year, Guzman, 48, and Munoz, 44, tied the knot in Cuba during the latest trip by a baseball contingent from Chemainus that had grown to include Duncan and Campbell River players.

Guzman interpreted Munoz’s thoughts about the relationship.

“He was impressed I was elegant and well-spoken and professional when I was on the field. He had hoped I would be somebody who could add to his life. It’s unbelievable the love we have and how it’s all transpired.”

Guzman has taken a break from her job so they can enjoy some time together. There are still issues to sort out since they’re both obviously from different countries, but the long-term plan is to spend six months here and six months in Cuba.

“Crofton will always be home base,” said Guzman. “It just won’t be the cold months – go figure.”

“It’s been very beautiful,” summed up Munoz through Guzman’s translation. “I never thought I would live here. The relationship we have, God put us in each other’s pathway.”

A bittersweet part of their time together is the recent sudden passing of Munoz’s mother. “God put us together, we’ll get through,” said Guzman.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Pharmacist Barbara Violo arranges empty vials of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine that she has provided to customers at the Junction Chemist, an independent pharmacy in Toronto, Monday, April 19, 2021. Younger Canadians in several provinces are now able to get the AstraZeneca vaccine. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
AstraZeneca vaccine appointments fill up fast on Vancouver Island

More pharmacies expected to be added as supply increases

The bulk carrier ‘Port Alberni’ is berthed at CentrePort in Wellington, New Zealand on Monday, April 12, 2021. The carrier is 174 metres long by 29 metres wide, flies under a Hong Kong flag and was carrying logs. (CHARMEAD SCHELLA/Special to the News)
Logging ship a trip down memory lane for transplanted Canadian

The 174-metre ‘Port Alberni’ is registered in Hong Kong

Aria Pendak Jefferson cuddles ChiChi, the family cat that ran away two years ago in Ucluelet. The feline was missing until Courtney Johnson and Barry Edge discovered her in the parking lot of the Canadian Princess earlier this month. Aria and her parents were reunited with ChiChi in a parking lot in Port Alberni. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)
A little girl’s wish is answered as her cat came back

Courtenay family reunited with cat that went missing in Ucluelet in 2019

Nanaimo poet Kamal Parmar will read some of her poems at Rendezvous with a Poet on Sunday, April 25. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)
Nanaimo poet to read at virtual Port Alberni event

Rendezvous with a Poet is hosted by Char’s Landing in Port Alberni

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and United States President Joe Biden smile as they say farewell following a virtual joint statement in Ottawa, Tuesday, February 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau pledges to cut emissions by 40% to 45% by 2030, short of U.S. goal

Trudeau announced target during a virtual climate summit convened by U.S. President Joe Biden

Ambulance crews have been busy with a record number of emergency overdose calls this Wednesday, April 21. (BC Emergency Health Services)
B.C. paramedics responded to a record 138 overdose calls in a single day

Wednesday’s calls included 48 in the Vancouver Coastal Health region and 51 in Fraser Health

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and Premier John Horgan describe vaccine rollout at the legislature, March 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C. COVID-19 hotspots targeted as AstraZeneca vaccine runs low

17,000 appointments booked the first day for people aged 40 and up

B.C. Ferries’ sixth Island-class vessel launches at Damen Shipyards Galati in Romania. The ship is the second of two that will service the Nanaimo-Gabriola Island route starting in 2022. (Photo submitted)
Second hybrid ferry for Nanaimo-Gabriola route launched overseas

Island-class vessel will enter service in 2022

Dresses hang outside Nelson city hall as part of the REDress Project by Métis artist Jaime Black. Photo: Bill Metcalfe
B.C. red dresses symbolizing missing, murdered Indigenous women vandalized a 2nd time

Nelson’s REDress Project was vandalized along with an outdoor installation on Vancouver Island

A nurse loads a syringe with a vaccine for injection at the Victoria Clipper Terminal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
B.C.’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout not enough to bring back normal life by fall: report

Only 51% of the population will be protected under B.C.’s current rollout, SFU professors say more vaccinations are needed to achieve herd immunity

Letisha Reimer, 13, was killed Nov. 1, 2016 in a stabbing at Abbotsford Senior Secondary.
UPDATED: Second-degree murder conviction stands for Abbotsford school killer

Judge finds that Gabriel Klein is criminally responsible for death of Letisha Reimer

FILE – RCMP officers wearing face masks to curb the spread of COVID-19 stand by as protesters opposed to the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion block rail lines, in Burnaby, B.C., on Friday, November 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Very scary’: B.C. travel rules too vague, shouldn’t involve police, civil liberties group says

BCCLA said that speaking with communities could have avoided top-down approach

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Most Read