"My life started that day."
A fateful encounter at the front door of a friend's house would change the lives of two strangers forever.
'Can you get that?'
It was March 14, 2006 and Kristina Dilworth was nearing the end of a two-year stint in Australia. She was staying with her sister who had organised a small get-together to say farewell before Kristina left for her home in the UK. Her bags were packed and plane tickets were safe inside.
As guests began arriving, there was a knock on the door and a friend asked Kristina if she could get it. That small favour would change her life forever.
"I knew as soon as I saw his face. It was like we looked at each other and it was just that instantaneous 'I know who you are'," Kristina said.
Zvonimir Pranjic (Zvon for short) was his name. A friend of a friend who wasn't even invited to the party. He was in the neighbourhood and decided in that moment to pop in.
It was like shedding old skin. I felt happy. I'd always thought in my life that I was happy doing what I was doing. I was never a sad or grumpy person. But it was a completely different feeling.Kristina on meeting Zvon for the first time.
Kristina, who admitted she was usually not very outward with her emotions was overcome with a newfound sense of confidence. When Zvon sat down on a small couch in the living room, Kristina quickly squeezed herself in between him and another - female - party goer who was sitting across.
"My friends are kind of looking at me and they were like, 'What is she doing?" Kristina laughed.
Kristina wasted no time. "I said to him 'are you single?' and he was like, 'yeah I'm single'. I said 'well do you want to go out tonight?' And he just sort of sat there looking pretty stoked. And he was like 'yeah, sure.'"
A truly new beginning
Kristina and Zvon both left to get ready. "He came and picked me up at about half past six," she said
"We went out to a pizzeria in Maryvale and then we went back to his house.
"And I never left."
Kristina never boarded her flight home and she never returned to pick up her suitcase full of clothes.
"It was like my life had just begun right then," she said. "It was like shedding old skin. I felt happy. I'd always thought in my life that I was happy doing what I was doing. I was never a sad or grumpy person.
"But it was a completely different feeling. And it was like nothing else mattered."
It's been 14 years since their chance encounter and Kristina said her feelings have never wavered.
"We talk all the time, we discuss things. Our ideas about life and what we want to do and where we want to go. And we're very much on the same page with pretty much all of the decisions," she said.
"We don't row, we don't argue. We're always laughing, happy. Enjoying each other's company."
Zvon agrees. "I didn't even know she was going to be there. I was just going to see a mate. She asked me out, I said 'yeah alright' and that was it," he said.
"It all was all pretty natural. I felt comfortable. It's one of those things that was meant to be."
A life shared together
Kristina and Zvon live in Portland now, in a tidy home across from the RSL Club that they share with six dogs. Buttons, Geordie, Bella, Rex, Artis and Zora who they love dearly.
Kristina said her and Zvon will get married eventually. Not feeling a need to rush to officiate a love they already feel so strongly for each other - and their 'fur babies'.
For Valentine's Day Kristina said she will probably cook Zvon and the dogs their favourite meals and pamper them a bit for the day and Zvon said, feeling lucky, he might go and grab some scratchies.
"We keep quiet, to ourselves. We celebrate together because we have the dogs. We don't like to leave them for too long," Zvon said.
When Kristina made the decision to stay in Australia with Zvon she said her parents' reactions were mixed. "My mum always told me I would know when I met the right person. I would just know when I fell in love. I used to laugh at her," she said.
"I actually rang her up the next day. And I told her, 'you were right.'"
Dad took some convincing. "Dad, he wasn't pleased. He said 'this man is a complete stranger, he could be an axe murderer', Kristina laughed.
But Zvon was firm in his message. "I'll always take care of her. I love her, she loves me. She will always be happy."
And that's turned out to be true.