Casper College Chinook Logo

Love Across Borders: A Colombian Teacher’s Journey to the American West

By Saioa San Francisco Arilla

In a heartwarming story of cross-cultural connection, a Colombian woman found love and a new home in the heart of America’s Wild West. 

Nohora Groce a Spanish teacher at CC was born in Colombia, Bogotá. She was married for two years in Colombia until she became a widow. She didn’t find another person to be able to share her life with.

Groce said, “Things were changing in Colombia at that time. Women were gaining strength and independence, and men were terrified.” She added, “It was very difficult for me to be able to date someone else. I couldn´t see myself dating again.”

She worked in international commerce for 11 years with people from all over the world, especially people from Sweden. She said she thought she was going to end up marrying someone from Europe. Some of her friends talked to her about a dating app to meet people from other countries.

“The app was very well structured — it did a study and evaluated your personality,” she said. “The people from the app then are the ones who make the match for you.” 

A month passed before she could have any contact with the one who would be her future husband, Mark. As soon as they were in contact, he wanted to ask her how well she spoke English. The first time they had a proper conversation, they talked for two hours. She went on a business trip to Europe and during that time she decided she wanted to go visit him in the United States. 

Groce said, “I decided I wanted to see him because I was seeing couples and babies everywhere and I truly wanted to form a family.”

Six months went by and he insisted on meeting her. Groce planned to go to Miami States in December. She spent several days with her nephew before finally visiting him. During that time, she found something in him she could have never found in her home country

“It was beautiful. I felt like I was in love with him without knowing him,” Groce explains.

She spent 10 days in Wyoming before going back to Colombia.

Groce said, “I went back to Colombia because that was how it was planned, but my head was here, in Casper.”

During that time apart, she tried to convince him to go to Colombia, as he didn´t have work in Casper. He didn´t know Spanish and was very scared of moving to another country. She told him to learn Spanish and find a job in Clombia as she was willing to move to America for him too.

Groce added, “Here in Colombia we are very… how do I explain it? We dive into the water, (and) we never stop.”

She thought everyone was going to have the same mentality, but he didn´t. So, she started thinking about moving to the United States.

“I had no desire to run away from Colombia — I had my job, my apartment, and everything was good. But something was missing. I was missing someone to share that life with,” Groce explained.

They talked about her spending a couple of months in Casper, and so she did during the summer to see if she would be willing to move to Casper with him. 

Groce said, “I had a very stressful life back in Colombia. Wyoming gave me peace — I liked that peace.”

Groce must manage her stress. At age 27, she was diagnosed with fibromyalgia, a syndrome that causes pain in different parts of the body. Stress is one of the things that causes the most pain with that kind of syndrome. With jobs as stressful as Groce’s, she thought that by moving to Wyoming, her health would improve. 

 She then resigned from her job and sold her apartment along with everything she had beside her bed. 

Groce explained, “The hardest part was saying goodbye to my mom. I had a very strong connection with her being the youngest and only girl in the siblings.”

She finally moved to the United States in December of 2006. They started their life together and a year later, in 2008, they got married. Soon after, Sofia, their oldest daughter was born.

Sofia, Nohora´s daughter is now 15 years old. She knows Spanish and English and has traveled to visit her family back in Colombia. 

Sofia said, “I am very grateful for my roots, I think knowing two languages from a young age has helped me in a lot of ways.”

Being a multicultural child and knowing two languages can be very beneficial to the development of children.

Sofia explained, “I want to go back to Colombia. I’d like to be able to understand both languages, Spanish and English because it allows me to communicate with more people”

Groce’s story isn’t just about crossing borders for love. It’s a testament to human strength and the magic of taking risks. Leaving everything familiar behind to embrace the unknown takes bravery, but Groce did just that. And in Wyoming, she didn’t just find love; she found a piece of herself she never knew was missing.

More Articles

Spring Thunderbirds Soccer Update

By Lane Johnson The Casper College Men and Women’ Soccer Teams have completed the spring season and look forward to competing for the national title

Artist, Cat Whisperer, and Partner

By Lairen Brush Walking around Casper College, students, staff, and faculty may be able to identify origami birds surrounding the halls, hidden on bookshelves, or

The Life Lesson of Theater

By Geoff Cooper Richard Burk, a longstanding figure in Casper College’s theater department, directs his final production with “Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief.” His

Money in CC Sports

By Faythe Fowler As a whole, athletics programs at Casper College receive a budget from various sources to divide and decide what happens with the