Someone once said that life takes us to unexpected places, but love takes us home. However, if you happen to meet a soul mate on your travels, you can wind up finding a home from home half a world away from your native country.

Michelle Takahashi, 35, from Vancouver, left Canada at age 19 to spend a few years in London. With a plan after that to stay one year in Japan, she arrived in Tokyo in 2003. When she was literally just about to pack her bags to move to Hong Kong in 2005, she decided to finally meet a longtime online acquaintance in person. She didn't know that meeting Toru Takahashi, 37, from Sendai, would forever change her life and lead to her settling down in Japan.

Michelle currently works as an English teacher at a school for families who hope to raise their children in bilingual and multi-cultural environments. Together with Toru, a systems engineer at an IT-related U.S. company, and their two sons — Keiden, 4, and Colton, who will turn 2 on Christmas Eve — she now lives in the city of Kodaira, western Tokyo.