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Global Love Story Stretches from Kansas City to Bangladesh  The Power of Love

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Above image credit: Ryan Coffman and Sayeeda Islam in a traditional Bangladeshi three-wheeled passenger cart. (Contributed | Sayeeda Islam)
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3 minute read

Ryan stands in his kitchen in Kansas City, surrounded by the warm glow of his stove and the sweet aroma of his cooking. He moves with precision and focus, creating a delicious dinner with love. He is preparing a mouth-watering dish of roasted chicken with vegetables.  

At the same time, on the other side of the world, Sayeeda sits in her kitchen in Bangladesh, carefully selecting the freshest ingredients for her breakfast. The early morning light filters in through the window, illuminating her face as she works on a delicious spread of spicy omelet with fresh bread slices on the side.  

Although these spouses are on different continents, they are cooking at the same time, seeing each other through FaceTime, and making the most of the time they have together. When their meals are ready, they raise their plates to the camera, smiling at each other as they take their first bites.  

It’s a heartwarming scene — a testament to the power of love. Despite the geographical distance, the love birds are truly together in this moment. 

Ryan Coffman, a 28-year-old machine operator from Kansas City, met a girl from Bangladesh named Sayeeda Islam through a dating app in April 2021. Soon after, they got into a relationship and started dating through Facebook messenger.  

Sayeeda Islam in Gazipur, Bangladesh.
Sayeeda Islam in Gazipur, Bangladesh. (Contributed | Sayeeda Islam)

Ryan describes how a girl from a different culture attracts him. 

“Sayeeda is a very kind and open-minded person,” he said. “She told me early in the relationship, ‘I didn’t care about your money or where you are from. I am here for you and you only.’ She is not possessive and genuinely looking for a life partner, which is something that I also wanted.”  

Sayeeda added: “Ryan respects my culture and values, which are most important to me. Our choices are the same. He is the kindest and most hardworking person I have ever met.”   

Initially, both families were hesitant about their long-distance relationship, but they eventually warmed up after getting to know each other better.  

“My family thought it could be fake,” Sayeeda said. “They did not believe that someone from the U.S. would come just to marry me, based on a virtual relationship.” 

One year after they started dating, Ryan visited Bangladesh with a ring to propose to Sayeeda in May 2022. The proposal quickly led to a wedding.  

Some of their relatives were shocked. 

“Some family members had their own opinion,” Ryan said. “They thought that when I came back home, I’d forget about it or that the marriage won’t last. Just kind of still with the fact of it being long distance, they’re kind of still judgmental on it.” 

Ryan Coffman spending a lazy weekend at the Country Club Plaza without his wife in Bangladesh.
Ryan Coffman spending a lazy weekend at the Country Club Plaza without his wife in Bangladesh. (Saurav Rahman | Flatland)

The couple has made some compromises. Ryan converted to Islam before his travel to Bangladesh, which was his first international visit.  

“In 2022 I got a tourist visa and got multiple entries because it became such a headache getting a visa itself in 2021 as international travel had a restriction back then (due to COVID-19). I’m going to look into how I can become a dual citizen, so then I wouldn’t have to worry about visas as much in the future.” 

Right after the marriage, Ryan had to return to Missouri without his spouse. Since then, their marriage has continued virtually. 

“We are constantly on the phone with each other,” Sayeeda said. “And it might sound corny, but if I’m cooking, I put the phone up to where he can see me. So it’s almost like we’re cooking together, we watch videos together, and listen to music.”  

The day Ryan proposed to Sayeeda.
The day Ryan proposed to Sayeeda. (Contributed | Sayeeda Islam)

Ryad added: “We read articles to each other. And we constantly talk like normal conversations that you would have if you were here. Even when we have arguments, we try to still stay on the phone, even though we’re mad at each other. We may not be talking or anything, but we’re still on the phone with each other.” 

Fortunately, this couple rarely argues. Their tensions are now focused on being in the same location again. This time Ryan wants Sayeeda to visit his home. 

“The process has already started,” Ryan said. “I have to go back to Bangladesh soon to get some leftover paperwork done and submit the documents to the state department to bring Sayeeda to the U.S. It takes almost 9-17 months to approve the visa. So we both are waiting.”  

In the meantime, these two global love birds are dreaming of a life together, which they want to share through social media.

Saurav Rahman was a 2022 visiting fellow at Kansas City PBS through the Alfred Friendly Press Partners program, which provides hands-on training in U.S. and international newsrooms and within the Missouri School of Journalism. He is a journalist in Bangladesh.

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